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Fresh from their convincing victory over the Salford Red Devils last weekend, the Rhinos were once again on the other side of the Penines, this time to take on a St Helens side looking to maintain their one hundred percent record and with one eye on the top of the table.

Dave Furner made three changes with Oledzki and Sutcliffe back in his seventeen and a late withdrawal of Matt Parcell with injury meaning the Cameron Smith kept his place in the side. Saints were unchanged for the third consecutive match of their 2019 campaign.

This is a fixture which is rarely a dull one, but the odds were in Saints favour to record the win.

Saints centre Kevin Naiqama’s game lasted just ninety seconds when he was helped from the field after appearing to get a team-mates finger in his eye in the tackle. Two minutes later Saints showed no ill effects from the early loss when Theo Fages picked up the ball after Konrad Hurrell juggled it close to his own line and slide over the line. Mark Percival was unable to add the extra two.

On eight minutes Jonny Lomax picked up a knocked back ball from Nathan Peteru to dive over from close range. Percival put the conversion between the sticks to give his side a 10-0 lead.

On eleven the Rhinos opened their account after Percival dropped the Leeds kick-off into touch. The Rhginos used the field position well and patiently constructed a passing move which saw Jack Walker put Kallum Watkins over in the right corner. Tui Lolohea drilled the touchline conversion over the crossbar to reduce the arrears to four.

Leeds’ Stevie Ward then picked up a leg injury for the Rhinos, himself being helped from the field by the medical staff. Both sides had lost a key player.

On twenty-two a last tackle powerplay from the Rhinos saw the ball moved from right to left with Hurrell running over the top of the Saints defence to roll over the line and ground. Lolohea again converted from the touchline and the Rhinos had a two point lead.

Leeds had two tries ruled out for forward passes and after forcing a goal line drop out the Rhinos used their tackles before moving the ball fast left with Hurrell putting Ash Handley over in the corner. Lolohea pulled his kick wide of the upright, the Rhinos now 16-10 ahead, sixteen unanswered points.

Four minutes from the interval Mikolaj Oledzki forced his way over the line by the right upright with four Saints defenders attached. Lolohea added the conversion and the Rhinos had stunned the home side, despite their tremendous opening ten minutes, and the visitors went into the sheds with a 22-10 lead.

With four second half minutes on the clock Saints reduced the deficit when Alex Walmsley bust the Leeds line, off a James Roby pass, to ground from short range. Percival added the extras and the game was back on with Saints just six points adrift.

Within five minutes Walmsley was in again, twisting out of the Leeds tackle to use tremendous strength to ground on the line. When Percival missed the extras the home side trailed by two.It had been an electrifying start to the second half for the home side.

When Saints were awarded a penalty on fifty-four, Lachlan Coote was unable to kick it but on sixty-two Luke Thompson slipped out of a Leeds tackle and went iover for the four pointer to edge the Saints back into the lead for the first time since the twenty-second minute. Coote kicked the conversion for a 26-22 Saints lead.

Adam Cuthbertson had a try ruled out on seventy-two by the video referee for a Liam Sutcliffe knock-on but Saints had knocked on first and the Rhinos had the scrum. On the third tackle Lolohea went over but he lost the ball over the line after grounding on Percivals shoulder.

On the next set Saints had a try ruled out for an obstruction in the build-up, the video referee having a busy night.

Roby slotted over a drop goal with thirty seconds left on the clock and Saints had a 27-22 win.

This was a superb contest between two open rugby sides who kept the crowd entertained for the full eighty minutes. Some curious refereeing decisions got the crowd buzzing, particularly those who had made the trip from Headingley. Saints rode their luck and held on for their third win of the season but the Rhinos will count themselves unlucky to leave the Totally Wicked Stadium with nothing to show for their efforts.

Dave Furner has said he wants week on week improvements from the Rhinos and there is no doubt that tonight they delivered. Justin Holbrook will be mightily relieved that his side grabbed the win.

Saints: Coote (G), Makinson, Percival (2G), Naiqama, Grace, Lomax (T), Fages (T), Walmsley (2T), Roby (DG), Thompson (T), Taia, Peyroux, Knowles.  Subs: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Lees.

Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins (T), Hurrell (T), Handley (T), Lolohea (3G), Myler, Peteru, Dwyer, Merrin, Ferres, Sutcliffe, Ward.  Subs: Donaldson, Smith, Singleton, Cuthbertson, Oledzki (T).

Referee: Robert Hicks.

Half-Time: 10-22.

Full-Time: 27-22.

Attendance: .



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