Leeds Rhinos 16, St Helens 30: Rhinos slump to Women's Super League defeat
A poor second half performance condemned Leeds Rhinos to a 30-16 defeat by St Helens in Sunday’s Women’s Super League curtain-raiser at Emerald Headingley.
Rhinos' second defeat of the season left them third in the table, but they are now two points adrift of Saints who they beat a fortnight ago in a Challenge Cup semi-final.
Leeds - who face Castleford Tigers in the Cup final next Saturday - hit back twice to snatch a 12-10 interval lead, but weren’t in the game in the second half.
Saints went ahead after just two minutes through Jodie Cunningham who nipped over from acting-half close to Rhinos' line.
That was cancelled out by Shannon Lacey who scored a similar try five minutes later, converted by Courtney Hill.
The visitors regained the advantage on 16 minutes as Leah Burke who squeezed over at the corner and Faye Gaskin landed a touchline conversion.
A moment of quality proved the difference between the teams in the opening stanza, moments after Tasha Gaines had been held up over Saints’ line.
An error led to a scrum 20 metres out and Hill ghosted through from the base for a fine touchdown which she also improved, but Rhinos found themselves 10 point down within 12 minutes of the resumption.
Gaskin crossed between the posts and added the extras just a minute into the second half after Leeds’ defence failed to deal with Chantelle Crowl’s kick, then Crowl crossed following back to back penalties.
Gaskin converted and added a penalty before Crowl went over for her second try late on and the scrum-half’s fifth goal completed Saints' scoring.
Hill scored her second solo try on the final play of the game, but her kick bounced away off an upright.
Leeds Rhinos: Beevers, Goldthorp, Kerrigan, Robinson, Nuttall. Butcher, C Hill, Anderson, Bennett, Johnson, Frain, Staveley, Lacey. Subs Webster, Priim, Gaines, Harriman.
St Helens: Rotherham, L Burke, R Burke, Avenall, Williams, Harris, Gaskin, Lovejoy, Cunningham, Whitfield, Rudge, Birchall, Crowl. Subs Stott, Mullaney, Gladman, Jones.