Leeds Rhinos Nostalgia: Overseas star Leuluai’s late try in vain as Saints claim place at Wembley

St Helens' Jon Wilkin is tackled by Leeds Rhinos' Gareth Ellis and Simon Worrall during the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final in 2008.
St Helens' Jon Wilkin is tackled by Leeds Rhinos' Gareth Ellis and Simon Worrall during the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final in 2008.
0
Have your say

There have been a handful of Leuluais that have made the grade in the Super League but for Leeds Rhinos there was only one Leuluai that mattered – Kylie Leuluai.

The prop became a massive figure with the Headingley crowd and spent a staggering nine seasons at the club.

As a player he was an influential prop – he made tackles like a battering ram and scored more than the odd try. He forged a great partnership with Jamie Peacock and was a massive influence to the other props that have played at the Rhinos such as Ryan Bailey and Ian Kirke.

Nicknamed the Hulk, Kylie was at Leeds from 2007 to 2015, making 258 appearances and scoring 22 tries. During his career he won the Super League six times, Challenge Cup twice and claimed two World Club Challenge titles.

This made him the most successful overseas player in the club’s history.

Leuluai is still working behind the scenes at Headingley Carnegie as the club’s Welfare Officer.

Kylie scored a try in the Challenge Cup semi-final clash with St Helens on July 26, 2008 but it wasn’t enough for the Rhinos as they lost 26-16 at the Galpharm Stadium.

Saints scored the opening try through Chris Flannery which was converted by Sean Long to leave the Rhinos trailing 6-0. However, Kevin Sinfield added a penalty to reduce the arrears to four points. Saints then added a further two tries from Leon Pryce and Jon Wilkin, both converted by Long to leave Leeds trailing 18-2.

There was a mini fightback from the Rhinos as tries from Ali Lauitiiti and Scott Donald, – with Sinfield adding a goal – closed the gap back to six points at 18-12.

But a penalty from Long and a try from Bryn Hargreaves, converted by Long, left Leeds 26-12 behind with a just a few minutes left on the clock.

A last-gasp try from Leuluai proved to be in vain as the Rhinos crashed out of the Challenge Cup.

Sinfield also missed the conversion as the Rhinos ultimately lost 26-16.

MATCH STATS

Leeds Rhinos 16

(Tries: Lauitiiti, Donald, Leuluai. Goals: Sinfield 2)

St Helens 26
(Tries: Flannery, Pryce, Wilkin, Hargreaves. Goals: Long 5)

JULY 26, 2008. CHALLENGE CUP SEMI-FINAL

Leeds Rhinos: Smith, Hall, Toopi, Senior, Donald, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Ellis, Sinfield. Subs: Scruton, Kirke, Ablett, Worrall.

St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Hargreaves, Cunningham, Graham, Gilmour, Wilkin, Flannery. Subs: Roby, Cayless, Clough, Fa’asavalu.

Attendance: 19,842.

Referee: Ashley Klein.

Lois Forsell

Leeds Rhinos: Rhinos’ first fledgling women’s team is all set for today’s take-off