Leeds Rhinos Nostalgia: Precocious youngster Sinfield comes to the rescue against Widnes

Francis Cummins celebrates with Kevin Sinfield.
Francis Cummins celebrates with Kevin Sinfield.
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HOW MANY Challenge Cup winner’s medals does Kevin Sinfield own?

Famously, the former Leeds Rhinos captain suffered five defeats in finals before leading his team to victory over Castleford Tigers at Wembley in 2014.

He lifted the Cup for a second time last season, when Rhinos thrashed Hull KR, but Sinfield actually has three medals in his collection.

The then-teenager was also a member of Rhinos’ squad when they won the Cup in 1999. Though he only featured once during that triumphant run, Sinfield made a crucial contribution.

Seventeen years ago today Sinfield had yet to make a first-team start, but was among the substitutes for the quarter-final tie away to Widnes Vikings.

And it was Sinfield who steadied Rhinos’ ship after the lower division hosts had threatened to pull off one of the summer era’s great Cup shocks.

The scores were deadlocked at 10-10 with half an hour remaining when coach Graham Murray threw Sinfield into the action.

Within 10 minutes he had destroyed Widnes’ resistance and Rhinos were on their way into the semi-finals.

Sinfield – described in the Yorkshire Evening Post’s report as a “precocious” talent and one of the country’s most exciting prospects – scored a brace of solo tries and Rhinos eventually ran away with the game to win 46-10.

First Sinfield shrugged off three defenders to barge over from close range and then he raced through to touch down from his own kick.

Despite Sinfield’s cameo, the man-of-the-match award went to Andy Hay, who scored a career-first hat-trick and topped the tackle count.

Lee Jackson made his first start for Leeds and also impressed, along with in-form Marvin Golden and Barrie McDermott, who was rebuilding his reputation after being sent-off in Leeds’ fourth round win over Wigan.

Leeds led 10-4 at the interval through tries by Hay and Brad Godden, against two Mark Hewitt penalties.

Early in the second half Damien Munro touched down and Hewitt’s conversion levelled the scores.

Sinfield’s brace put Rhinos in control and they extended their lead through a couple more tries for Hay, plus Golden, McDermott and Leroy Rivett. Harris landed five goals.


Widnes 10

(Try: Munro. Goals: Hewitt 3)

Leeds Rhinos 46
(Tries: Hay 3, Sinfield 2, Godden, Golden McDermott, Rivett. Goals: Harris 5)

March 14, 1999. Challenge Cup quarter-final

Widnes Vikings: Salisbury, Briers, Cross, Myler, Munro, Mansson, Hewitt, Hansen, Cantillon, Mann, P Harris, Savelio, Cassidy. Subs: Devecchi, Reid, Hunter, Argent.

Leeds Rhinos: Harris, Rivett, Golden, Godden, Cummins, Powell, Sheridan, Fleary, Jackson, McDermott, Hay, Newton, Glanville. Subs: Sterling, Sinfield, Masella, Mathiou.

Referee: Steve Presley.

Attendance: 6,375.