Leeds Rhinos 36 Catalans Dragons 22: Rhinos see off Dragons to move back top

Kallum Watkins.

Kallum Watkins.

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Leeds Rhinos will go into the Super-8s as league leaders following a 36-22 win over Catalans Dragons at Headingley.

Leeds led only 18-16 with 30 minutes left, but three tries in six minutes at the start of the final quarter ensured a victory which moved them a point ahead of St Helens on the final Super League table.

Leeds’ hero was winger Tom Briscoe, who scored a hat-trick in his first game for four month following shoulder surgery.

Rhinos scored back-to-back tries to take a 16-10 interval lead, after Catalans had hit back to go 10-6 ahead.

Briscoe, who had missed 19 games, opened the scoring after four minutes from Kallum Watkins’ pass, Kevin Sinfield converting.

But Tony Gigot touched down from a kick by Scott Dureau, who also added the extras and then moments later Morgan Escare went over from the scrum-half’s pass for Dragons’ second try, on 26 minutes.

Four minutes before the break Watkins put Briscoe over for his second to level the scores and on the final play of the half Mitch Garbutt stormed in from a pass by Sinfield, who added his second goal.

Sinfield booted a penalty at the start of the second half, but Dureau’s try and conversion cut the gap to two points on 50 minutes.

Sinfield landed another penalty after a spear tackle on Kylie Leuluai, which was placed on report, then Leeds hit the turbos..

Watkins raced the length of the field, Briscoe’s pass put Brett Delaney over and then Briscoe completed his hat-trick from a grubber kick by Sinfield, who added two conversions to make it 36-16.

Tony Gigot added a second try, converted by Dureau and that completed the scoring, though Catalans should have had a try late on when Ben Pomeroy crossed, but the pass was incorrectly ruled forward.

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