LEEDS RHINOS are looking forward to their 16th Challenge Cup semi-final of the summer era, which began in 1996, after a 58-0 win over Featherstone Rovers at Headingley.
Here are five talking points from the game.
1: Rovers competed well in the first half and were a shade unfortunate to go in at the break 22-0 down.
After conceding three converted tries in the opening 15 minutes they dug in well and kept Rhinos out until the final play of the half.
That was a painful blow and they were on the back foot for most of the second period, though Rovers deserved credit for a strong finish.
Josh Hardcastle was unlucky not to score in the final moments, but overall the game went as expected.
It was always going to be a tough night for the Kingstone Press Championship side and, realistically, the next two games – against Swinton on Wednesday and away to London Broncos four days later – are more important.
2: The perfect scenario for Rhinos was to get through injury-free and without having to expend too much energy, so things went according to plan.
Leeds were in control throughout, scoring some good tries and the way they battled to protect their line late on was an encouraging sign.
3: Rhinos coach Brian McDermott showed respect to Featherstone by fielding his strongest-available squad, but also took the opportunity to experiment.
Switching Ryan Hall to the left-centre, with Ash Handley outside him on the wing, paid off. Hall got more of the ball and showed some impressive skill to send Handley over for a brace of tries. It’s not on the cards yet, but a move infield could be an option later in the England winger’s career.
4: It was difficult circumstances, but on-loan Rhinos half-back Cory Aston battled away for Rovers and came out of his first competitive game at Headingley with credit.
5: A crowd of 6,181 is disappointing for a Challenge Cup quarter-final. Live television coverage didn’t help, but many fans aren’t interested in the Challenge Cup until at least the semi-final stage and that’s an issue the sport needs to address.