Leeds Rhinos’ youth teams given tough tests by Aussie tourists

LEEDS RHINOS’ academy teams found it tough going in a double-header against New South Wales Country representative sides at Emerald Headingley, being beaten by a combined score of 66-14.

Sunday, 24th November 2019, 8:03 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th November 2019, 8:05 pm
Leeds Rhinos U18s and the touring youth side from New South Wales. PIC: Craig Hawkhead

Rhinos under-16s led 6-4 in the first half of their 32-10 defeat and the under-18s opened the scoring with an early touchdown, but were beaten 34-4.

Both games were more competitive than the scoreline suggests, but Leeds – despite defending strongly for long spells and looking dangerous on attack at times – were punished for a series of errors and conceded some costly penalties.

The Australian under-16s were stronger and more physical than Leeds, though Levi Edwards – one of eight Siddal players in Rhinos’ 20 – impressed in the second-row.

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Sam Wroe of Leeds Rhinos U18s in action against the Aussie tourists. PIC: Craig Hawkhead

Centre Max Simpson – among a six-strong Kippax contingent – finished off some fine handling by hooker Jacob Dakayne, scrum-half Kai Morgan and full-back Alfie Edgell for Leeds’ opening try, which Morgan converted. New South Wales led 14-6 at the break and Leeds’ only second-half points came through a touchdown by winger Will Gatus.

Try scorers for the tourists were Keegan Pace (2), Reagan Hurley (2), Jock Brazel, Reef Sommerville and Rowan Mansfield. Thomas Weaver and Matthew Noakes each added a goal.

Rhinos’ substitutes included Jack Sinfield, son of the club’s director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

Coached by Chev Walker, following Rob Burrow’s move up to the reserves, Rhinos under-18s went ahead through centre Coby Nichol and clean breaks by full-back Iwan Stephens, winger Liam Tindall and Joseph Parsons, who impressed off the bench, came to nothing.

Levi Edwards in action for Leeds Rhinos U18s against the touring Aussies. PIC: Craig Hawkhead

New South Wales led 18-4 at half-time through tries by Jack Hartwig, Phoenix Vetenibua-Finnerty and Nathan Kegg-King.

Benjamin Lovett, Kane Smith and Mackenzie Atkins crossed in the second period. Tyrone Roberts added five conversions.

Australian scrum-half Rylee Blackhall and Leeds second-rower Joe Gibbons were sin-binned following separate incidents in the second half.