Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith hails 'very good team performance', salutes fans and explains Corey Johnson's omission

Delighted coach Rohan Smith saluted a “very good team performance” after Leeds Rhinos stunned Wigan Warriors 42-12 at Headingley last night.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 2:41 am
Harry Newman scores Rhinos' fifth try in the win over Wgan. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Harry Newman scores Rhinos' fifth try in the win over Wgan. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Rhinos were 24-6 ahead at half-time and ran in seven tries in total, all converted by Rhyse Martin.

It was Wigan’s heaviest defeat of the season, despite Leeds being without all but one of their senior props, both first-choice half-backs and their hooker/captain.

“We were very consistent throughout the game,” Smith reflected.

“We defended very smart together and their opportunities were limited to their most dangerous players.

“We did a very good job with our defence.”

Though Leeds were never behind, Smith felt it was a “good, hard game of footy for the majority of it”.

He said: “they were chasing points and we held our line well.

“To score the first try in the second half is something we are working on and to be the last try scorer.

“If you can do those things you are going all right.”

Centre Harry Newman had an outstanding game on his return from a three-match ban.

Rhinos were backing up just five days after a 20-6 defeat in sapping heat at Toulouse.

Smith added: “It was a very good team performance.

“Harry will get a lot of recognition, but our middle unit in the first half kept turning up, we defended their kick and got the ball back.

“We had five new guys in from last week and I was impressed with how much energy we had.

“The players have really bought into everything we’ve done to prepare.”

Smith also saluted the contribution of Leeds’ fans in Rhinos’ first home game for two months.

He said: “The way the crowd were, the energy coming from the grandstand was strong and that helped to get the boys through.”

Winger David Fusitu’a is being assessed after picking up an ankl;e injury.

Muizz Mustapha was a late selection on the bench after Corey Johnson was ruled out because of illness.

Smith said: “Corey was going to play some time off the bench at dummy-half, but he was ill yesterday.

“He wanted to play but we felt it was best to go with Muizz off the bench and he added great energy.”