Leeds Rhinos player ratings and report from 20-6 Challenge Cup loss to St Helens

For the second time in eight days Leeds Rhinos competed with St Helens, but weren’t good enough to get the job done.

Friday’s 20-6 defeat in the Betfred Challenge Cup followed a similar pattern to the previous week’s 18-8 Super League loss; Rhinos led in the first half, conceded a try just before the interval and were unable to break the visitors down in the final 40 minutes. Again, it was three tries to one with Leeds not scoring after half-time.

Rhinos spent very little time in Saints’ territory in the opening period and could have been more than 10-6 behind. Jonny Lomax kicked a couple of early penalties and it took Rhinos 20 minutes to get past half-way, Harry Newman being tackled into touch. Leeds got the ball straight back, but Matt Frawley put a pass to ground on the first, Rhinos were immediately penalised and they were back defending their own line.

That was the pattern of the half and it’s credit to the hosts’ defence they held out until a minute before the break, but it was a soft try to concede. Daryl Clarke went over from acting-half and Lomax added the extras with the last kick before the interval. The try came in the set after Lomax had hooked a penalty wide, but dead.

Rhinos led for 13 minutes after Newman intercepted Lomax’s pass 10 metres out, scorched away and then stepped past Jon Bennison as he came across, giving Rhyse Martin a simple conversion. That was as good as it got for Leeds in a record-extending fourth successive Challenge Cup loss.

Leeds’ Tom Holroyd was sin-binned along with Clark after a mele midway through the second period and Bennison scored, off some good fortune from a kick, in the set following Saints’ penalty to put the game beyond Leeds. Lomax added the extras from the touchline and Saints wrapped it up when Alex Walmsley took advantage of a lucky ricochet from a kick by James Bell.

The penalty count finished 10-seven to Saints after being six-three in their favour, Leeds rather predictably getting a couple in the final moments. There were two set restarts, both to the visitors. Once again Rhinos didn’t get many - if any - of the 50-50 calls, but they have to be better to win games like this.

Leeds Rhinos: Miller, Momirovski, Newman, Martin, Handley, Croft, Frawley, Sangare, Ackers, Oledzki, Bentley, McDonnell, Smith. Subs Holroyd, O’Connor, Roberts, Lisone.

St Helens: Welsby, Bennison, Hurrell, Mata’utia, Blake, Lomax, Mbye, Walmsley, Clark, Lees, Sironen, Whitley, Knowles. Subs Delaney, Bell, Wingfield, Batchelor.

Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield). Attendance: Not given