A-Z of Leeds Rhinos - ‘C’ is for...Challenge Cup finals

Until Wigan went on their epic winning run in the 1980s and 90s, Leeds were the Challenge Cup kings, lifting the trophy a record 10 times from 1910 to 1978.

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 12:00 pm
Rhinos celebrate their 2014 Challenge Cup final victory over Castleford Tigers. Picture by Steve Riding.

Rhinos have won the Cup on three occasions during the summer era, in 1999, 2014 and 2015 and been runners-up six times - including three successive Wembley defeats from 2010-2012.

Leeds hold the Cup final record for highest score (52-16 against London Broncos in 1999) and widest winning margin (50-0 v Hull KR in 2015).

Tom Briscoe’s nap hand of tries five years ago was the most by an individual in a Cup final and Iestyn Harris’ eight goals against London is a joint-record, shared with Featherstone Rovers’ Cyril Kellett (against Bradford Northern in 1973).

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There was more Wembley joy in 2015 when Hull KR were beaten 50-0. Picture by Steve Riding.

Briscoe and Harris both scored 20 points, an individual record matched only by Neil Fox in Wakefield Trinity’s win over Hull 60 years ago.

Leeds’ nine tries against London and Hull KR is also a joint-record for Cup finals, shared with Huddersfield, who beat St Helens in 1915.

‘C’ is also for...Christmas. Leeds have played 45 times on Christmas Day, the most recent being at Batley in 1959.

The Loiners won 27, lost 16 and drew two of their December 25 fixtures, with Batley being the opponents 25 times.

Lee Smith can't hide his dismay after Leeds' 2012 Cup final loss to Warrington Wolves. Picture by Steve Riding.

In 1925 Leeds lost 10-5 at Mount Pleasant, but it was later discovered the pitch had been “not properly marked” and a replay was ordered, which Batley won 5-0 in March.

Leeds’ first match against an Australian touring team was on Christmas Day, 1908, when the Kangaroos won 14-10 at Headingley.

‘C’ is also for...Cricket field. On Christmas Eve, 1938, Headingley’s rugby ground was frozen solid so the fixture against Salford was moved to the cricket pitch. A crowd of 12,000 saw Leeds win 5-0, through a penalty goal by Jack Kelly and Vic Hey try.

‘C’ is also for...Champions. It took Leeds until 1961 to win their first Championship.

They took the trophy back to Headingley in 1969 and 1972, then endured another long wait before the 2004 Grand Final sparked a run of eight title victories in 14 seasons.

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