Challenge Cup match report: Wakefield Wildcats 6 Leeds Rhinos 60

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Leeds Rhinos began their bid for their first Challenge Cup success since 1999 with 11 tries in a thumping 60-6 victory over rivals Wakefield.

It was a sloppy start by the Rhinos but they soon clicked into gear and showed why their backs are widely considered the best in the country.

Wakefield failed to cope with Leeds’ offloading game and fast tempo in the first half as Carl Ablett and Ryan Hall each crossed twice and Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire helped themselves to a try apiece.

Pita Godinet cut through the Rhinos’ defence to briefly stem the tide but at 32-6 the tie was over at half-time.

Mitch Achurch and Liam Sutcliffe continued the scoring before Tom Briscoe, Burrow and Joel Moon completed the rout in the closing stages.

Leeds asked most of the questions in the opening 10 minutes but a mixture of poor handling and good Wakefield defence kept the match scoreless.

The pressure finally told on 18 minutes when Burrow made a trademark dart from acting half and benefited from some weak defence to touch down in the corner.

Kevin Sinfield converted and then had a big hand in Leeds’ second try of the afternoon. He earned his side a repeat set on their next venture down to the Wakefield end and took full advantage as he brilliantly offloaded to send Ablett in under the posts.

The Rhinos did not have to wait long for their third, McGuire finishing after Peter Fox, one of seven ex-Leeds players in the Wildcats line-up, failed to deal with Burrow’s tricky kick.

Paul Sykes kicked the restart out on the full and invited Leeds back downfield for their next try. The visitors kept the ball alive before Burrow threw a long pass which found Hall for the easiest of scores in the corner.

The nightmare continued for Wakefield as Sykes once again misjudged his kick-off and the Rhinos marched back towards their line before Ablett took a short ball to crash over for his second.

The home fans were given something to cheer as half-time approached as Godinet threw a couple of neat dummies on his way to the try line.

Normal service was resumed in the final minute of the half when Ablett broke through and offloaded to Hall for a clear run to the line.

It took Leeds five minutes to open their second-half account, the recalled Achurch showing a good turn of pace to touch down after finding a gaping hole in the Wakefield defence.

There was no let-up from the Rhinos and a similar gap was exploited by Sutcliffe as he marked his comeback from his loan spell at Bradford Bulls with a try.

Wakefield managed to contain the Rhinos for the next 20 minutes but gifted them their eighth try as Ali Lauitiiti offloaded straight into the hands of Briscoe, who raced clear to touch down in the corner.

Burrow went over after a typical jinking run and Moon collected Sinfield’s chip to complete Leeds’ biggest-ever victory over Wakefield in the Challenge Cup.


Anthony Mullally

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