WATCH - Leeds Rhinos big-match verdict: ‘Still a bit to do’ admits director of rugby Kevin Sinfield

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BOSS KEVIN Sinfield says Leeds Rhinos are not out of the woods yet, despite yesterday’s crucial 16-6 win at Widnes Vikings.

Leeds remain second in the Qualifiers table, two points clear of fourth-placed Toronto Wolfpack, with three rounds remaining,.

Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield at the Halton Stadium yesterday. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield at the Halton Stadium yesterday. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The top three after the middle-eights will compete in Betfred Super League next year with the teams in fourth and fifth playing off for the final spot. Newly announced head coach Dave Furner will be in charge whichever division Leeds end up in.

“There’s still a bit to do,” Sinfield warned after his fourth win as Rhinos’ director of rugby.

“Three wins from four looks a lot better than two from four and we’ll look forward to playing Salford on Friday. They gave us a bit of a touch-up a few weeks ago at their place. Everybody keeps telling me we need 10 points, but we’ll see. We’ve got three tough games to come and we’ll see where we end up.”

Rhinos trailed 6-4 at the break against Widnes and were clinging on to a four-point lead until the 77th minute when Richie Myler’s try sealed a crucial two points.

Eye-catcher, Jack Walker in action against Widnes. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Eye-catcher, Jack Walker in action against Widnes. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Defeat yesterday would have left Rhinos in serious danger of being dragged into the million pound match and Sinfield admitted it was a tense afternoon.

“I thought it was a really good game,” he said.

“I thought Widnes threw some things at us and I thought they played pretty well.

“I really liked our attitude, the way we stuck in there, but it was certainly tense and I’m just pleased we were able to come through it.

Liam Sutcliffe showed flashes of his class against Widnes. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Liam Sutcliffe showed flashes of his class against Widnes. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“Defensively we were a whole lot better than last week, which is something we’ve worked on this week.

“We copped a fair amount of penalties, especially on our own line and had to defend and back up and look after each other and we were able to do that.”

Rhinos defended the away fans’ end in the second half and Sinfield felt the travelling support played a big part in them holding out.

He said: “Hopefully we can get through what’s to come now and it’s one of those games our fans who’ve made the trip over remember and remember for all the right reasons.

“The support they gave us was outstanding.”

Stand-off Liam Sutcliffe’s 40-20 kick in the second half turned the game and he also made what Sinfield described as a “special” break which led to the clinching try.

“I just thought he was okay today, but when he comes up with those special moments he shows why he can be the player he will hopefully turn into,” Sinfield said.

Sinfield also hailed teenage full-back Jack Walker for an “unbelievable” performance and described veteran Jamie Jones-Buchanan as “the best forward on the field”.

It was Widnes’ 17th consecutive defeat, but coach Francis Cummins – a former Leeds player and assistant-coach – insisted they are not relegated yet.

“We’ll try and win our last three games and see what happens,” said Cummins.

“I am frustrated we didn’t get the win, but we never shirked and we were in it right to the end. I am proud of their effort.”