Hull Kingston Rovers break Leeds Rhinos’ 100% record in the Qualifiers after a stunning game at Headingley. Here’s our verdict…
The Rhinos got the first half underway and Joel Moon opened the scoring in just under five minutes, it resulted from a slick passing move across the face of the Rovers defence which exposed a three-to-two overlap and Moon dived into the corner. However Liam Sutcliffe missed his conversion.
After ten minutes into the game Rovers responded after Luke Briscoe spilled a wild pass that went to ground, Craig Hall picked it up and went over in the corner to punish the error. Danny Tickle also missed his conversion which levelled the scores.
Rovers continued to play some beautiful rugby where Chris Atkin kicked for touch but floated over the Leeds defence and Adam Quinlan collected, sold Jack Walker a dummy and scored. Tickle missed the conversion but Rovers lead by four points.
A third try for Rovers in under half and hour. Shaun Lunt sent an audacious offload to Ben Crooks who breaks free. Crooks drew in the defence and found Robbie Mulhern who manages to fend off the chasing defence, but he manages it to score. Craig Hall went on kicking duty and bagged the two points.
Leeds responded after Atkin’s 40/20 attempt which punished the Rovers side and conceded a try after a rushed last tackle play from the Rhinos. The ball got flung out to Tom Briscoe, who managed to dance through some onrushing defence to score. However, Craig Hall bagged a penalty conversion which was given from Stevie Ward pushing James Greenwood whilst playing the ball.
Just before the half-time whistle Leeds took the lead with back-to-back tries. Leeds intercepted a pass on their line, Atkin did superbly well to race back and tackle Sutcliffe, but it only halted the inevitable as Leeds quickly played the ball and they spread the ball wide and find space to go over. Richie Myler was the man to score.
They kept the ball alive and they took it from end of the field to the other. Nate Peteru on the end of a great flowing move to score.
The Red Robins got the second half underway. Sutcliffe booted Leeds to extend their advantage after an early error from McGuire as he can’t pick up a low pass. Leeds kick ahead and luckily the bounce isn’t kind and we get our defensive line set, but markers aren’t square so Leeds get a penalty.
Hull KR made the comeback back-to-back tries from Craig Hall. They first passed the ball quickly across the face of the Leeds’ defence, a sublime cut out pass from Danny McGuire finds Hall in space and he races in from 30m out. Hall however missed his conversion but reduced the deficit to four points.
Hall bagged his hat-trick from McGuire’s kick on the last which got contested in the air, it looked to be a Leeds hand that palms it back and Hall pounces on the loose ball.
Rovers’ lead was long-lived as Leeds score from back-to-back tries. The first resulted from missed tackle after missed tacklein the centre of the field. It seen Jordan Thompson go through a tackle, and finds Matt Parcell in support who goes under the posts.
They then stretched the Robins on the left wing and Tom Briscoe found the space to go over and get his second try of the game.
Rovers got another comeback underway as Chris Clarkson gets a peach of an offload away to Quinlan, who goes 50m and finds Atkin in support who scores.
Junior Vaivai scores after a good run from Shaun Lunt. He burrowed under 3 players and he twists and turns and gets the ball down. They get the lead going into the last 12 minutes and secured the win.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Questions will be asked on defending
Although the match was entertaining for spectators, both teams will have been disappointed with the amount of tries they’ve conceded.
The other teams in the qualifiers will be taking notes when they next face them.
Game management was crucial today
Credit is due to Hull KR’s head coach Tim Sheens who’s plan going into this game spurred the Red Robins on to their second win in the the Qualifiers.
The away side displayed some beautiful rugby which resulted in some great tries.
Man of the Match – Craig Hall (Hull Kingston Rovers)
Fans of the Red Robins will be more than glad to have Craig Hall back in red and white colours as he once again the star player in a crucial must-win encounter with a tough side like Leeds Rhinos.
Hall bagged a hat-trick and took over kicking duty after Danny Tickle missed both of his attempts.
Leeds Rhinos – 36
Tries: Moon (4′), T Briscoe (28′), Myler (37′), Peteru (39′), Parcell (52′).
Goals: Sutcliffe (6/7)
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull Kingston Rovers – 38
Tries: Hall (11′, 45′, 49′), Quinlan (14′), Mulhern (25′), Atkin (62′), Vaivai (68′)
Goals: Tickle (0/2), Hall (5/6)
Drop Goals: n/a
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, T Briscoe, Ward, Moon, L Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Myler, Singleton, Dwyer, Cuthbertson, Ablett, Ferres, Jones-Buchanan.
Interchanges: Parcell, Mullally, Peteru, Thompson.
Hull Kingston Rovers: Quinlan, Hall, Crooks, Vaivai, Carney, McGuire, Atkin, Mason, Lee, Mulhern, Tickle, Greenwood, Clarkson.
Interchanges: Lunt, Scruton, Kavanagh, Blair.
Referee: Ben Thaler