Bygones: Dean Lance’s short-lived coaching stint left long-lasting legacy at Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos' 2001 captain and coach 'Iestyn Harris and Dean Lance.
Leeds Rhinos' 2001 captain and coach 'Iestyn Harris and Dean Lance.
Have your say

ROUND FOUR of Super League in 2001 marked the end of one, short-lived, era and the start of a more lasting one for Leeds Rhinos.

Coach Dean Lance, who had been in charge since the end of 1999, was sacked two days after Leeds’ 18-16 loss to Hull at Headingley on April 6.

Garry Schofield and Cliff Lyons.

Garry Schofield and Cliff Lyons.

One of his final acts as Rhinos boss was to hand a debut off the bench to teenage scrum-half Rob Burrow.

He was one of eight players aged 20 or younger in a below-strength Rhinos team. Captain Iestyn Harris was one of those on Leeds’ injury list.

Rhinos had begun the campaign with a record 106-10 win at Swinton Lions in the Challenge Cup and also beat Castleford Tigers and Hull before bowing out 27-22 against St Helens in the last four.

That was the middle of three successive defeats which led to Lance’s dismissal, but there were positive signs against Hull.

The game was played in torrential rain, but Leeds defended strongly and took their chances to open a 12-10 half-time lead.

Robbie Mears and Danny Ward crossed for Rhinos, stand-in kicker Kevin Sinfield converting both.

Tony Smith scored Hull’s two tries before the interval, with Matt Crowther adding one goal.

Hull took charge with two tries in eight second half minutes through Crowther and Deon Bird. Burrow sent Francis Cummins over for Leeds’ third try with 18 minutes left, but Sinfield could not add the extras.

Rhinos battered Hull’s defence in the closing stages, but could not find a way through and the visitors held on.

The game was played on a Friday night and Lance’s departure was announced on the Sunday morning.

His successor Daryl Powell had hung up his boots at the end of the previous season to take up a new role as Rhinos’ head of youth.

Under him Leeds finished fifth in Super League and were eliminated in the first round of the play-offs.


Leeds Rhinos 16

(Tries: Mears, Ward, Cummins. Goals: Sinfield 2)

Hull FC 18
(Tries: T Smith 2, Crowther, Bird. Goal: Crowther)

April 6, 2001, 
Super League

Leeds Rhinos: Mullins, Calderwood, Kirk, Walker, Cummins, Sinfield, Pratt, Fleary, Mears, Ward, Farrell, Clyde, Hay. Subs St Hilaire, Burrow, Wrench, Dowes.

Hull: Bird, Raynor, Maiden, Campbell, Crowther, Cooke, T Smith, Broadbent, Jackson, Felsch, Maher, Grimaldi, J Smith. Subs Gene, Craven, Carvell, Parker.

Referee: Stuart Cummings.

Attendance: 12,693.


Leeds beat Bradford Northern 22-12 at Headingley on December 18. Morvin Edwards, Garry Schofield, Richard Gunn and Bobbie Goulding scored the Loiners’ tries and Simon Irving added three goals.


A powerful forward display earned Leeds a 20-8 win at Widnes 29 years ago today. John Bentley, Cliff Lyons, Ray Ashton and Colin Maskill scored Leeds’ tries and David Stephenson tagged on two goals.


The Loiners gained revenge on Leigh for the previous season’s Challenge Cup final defeat with a 25-8 win at Headingley on this day in 1971. Try scorers were Alan Smith, Alan Hardisty, John Atkinson, John Langley and Dave Hick. Terry Clawson (4) and John Holmes kicked the goals.


Leeds recorded a ninth successive league victory when they won 16-9 at Warrington 49 years ago today. Ray Batten and Ron Cowan were Leeds’ try scorers, Bev Risman kicked four goals and Mick Shoebottom added a drop.

Ryan Hall crosses the line for the rhinos first try.'Leeds Rhinos v Wakefield Trinty.   BetFred SuperLeague.  '13 July 2018.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Leeds Rhinos: Ryan Hall’s move to Sydney Roosters is confirmed