Leeds got back to winning ways with a 48-22 victory over Toulouse but it was a far from perfect performance. Here’s our verdict…
The Rhinos’ victory means they get off to a great start in the Qualifiers but the side look lethargic and lacklustre at several points in the game. After a tough semi-final against Warrington last Sunday, it was to be expected that Leeds would not be at their best but Toulouse really did give them a game today, despite the scoreline in the end.
For the first half, both sides looked evenly matched, with end-to-end play. Leeds opened the scoring through Brad Dwyer before Toulouse hit back with Bastien Canet grabbing their first try of the afternoon. The Rhinos then added three more, a Joel Moon double and Ryan Hall’s score before Toulouse had a spell of attack themselves. Bastien Ader went over before Maxime Puech added another four pointer just two minutes later to close the gap at half-time. Leeds led 20-16 at the hooter and looked like they were going to be in for a fight this afternoon.
Leeds started the second half meaning business which ultimately lead them to victory. Tries from Dwyer, Richie Myler, Adam Cuthbertson, Carl Ablett and Ashton Golding gave Leeds an overwhelming lead. Touolouse did manage a consolation try in the 76th minute when Chris Centrone went over. The score was flattering for Leeds but ultimately, the two points are the most important.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Energy the difference
Although their second half performance won them the match, the Rhinos let Toulouse play too much with the ball in the first 40. Toulouse looked the fresher of the two sides after 20 minutes and Leeds’ Challenge Cup semi-final looked to be playing on their mind slightly.
They were able to turn the screw in the second half though, as their superior energy levels allowed them to really take control as their opponents tired under pressure.
Toulouse should by no means feel embarrassed by the loss though. They played well throughout the first half, and showed the quality that could allow them to shock some of the other Super League teams.
Hall injury worry
Leeds got an essential win but there was some bad news with the injury suffered by Ryan Hall.
The winger looked to have twisted his knee and had to be taken off, and any absence would be a blow to a side still missing a lot of first-team players.
Rhinos fans will certainly hope they haven’t seen the last of England’s record try-scorer, who leaves for the NRL and Sydney Roosters at the end of the season.
Leeds Rhinos 48
Tries: Dwyer (2), Moon (2), Hall, Myler, Cuthbertson, Ablett, Golding
Goals: Sutcliffe (6)
Toulouse Olympique 22
Tries: Canet, Ader, Puech, Centrone
Goals: Kheirallah (3)
Leeds: Sutcliffe; T. Briscoe, Keinhorst, Moon, Hall; Ablett, Myler, Singleton, Dwyer, Crosby, Ferres, Jones-Buchanan, Cuthbertson.
Interchanges: Golding, Mullally, Peteru, Oledzki.
Toulouse: Kheirallah; Marcon, Centrone, Ader, Maurel; Ford, Barthau; Bretherton, Marion, Rapira, Canet, Mika, Boyer.
Interchanges: Robin, Puech, Hepi, Pettybourne.
Referee: Gareth Hewer