No excuses from Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar after repeat performance at Catalans Dragons
There were no excuses from disappointed Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar after his team’s copycat loss to Catalans Dragons last night.
After being beaten 26-18 at home a week earlier, Rhinos this time went down 27-18 in Perpignan.
Rhinos had led by 10 points midway through the first encounter and were 18-2 up at the interval in the rematch, but failed to post a second half point in either game.
Leeds flew to and from France on the day of the game and had to cope with hot conditions, but Agar felt they created their own downfall, again.
Catalans scored 18 points in the first 13 minutes after the break and Agar said: “I thought we tired because of our start to the second half.
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“I felt the biggest contributory factors were a lack of discipline and a lack of composure in the early parts of the second half.
“Once the momentum started [to go Catalans’ way] we couldn’t get it back.
“We had 50 per cent ball completion, conceded back to back tries.
“I thought we had a lot of players tried very hard, but at the same time we were let down in some areas and there were some really poor performances.”
Agar added: “If we want to sit behind excuses we can, but Catalans travel away every second week.
“I know the conditions aren’t a factor, but they seem to be doing all right with it. We haven’t learned some lessons from last week or maybe haven’t put our message across strongly enough during the week about what to do when we are in front.
“That’s the most disappointing thing for me, the way we have handled the first 10-15 minutes of the second half.
“I am not going to make excuses, if you want them there are some excuses and factors, but the first place we will look is at ourselves.”
Agar admitted successive second half collapses have been particularly frustrating, after playing so well in the first period of both games.
He said: “We talked about last week and we knew Catalans would come out strong.
“We knew the guys we’d have to handle and the style of play, but we dropped the ball on our first set and then gave a seven-tackle kick away and we didn’t see the ball for 10 minutes because we didn’t defend hard enough in the ruck.
“They are the bits as a coach that cause frustration and disappointment.
“We need to hold some blokes accountable because I thought there were some exceptionally poor efforts in a couple of their tries.
“Some individual efforts were way short of what we expect in this team.”
One positive for Rhinos was centre Harry Newman’s return after 10 months on the sidelines with a broken leg.
“He has got through okay,” Agar confirmed.
“He fatigued a bit, we would have liked to have got him off earlier, but we had to roll our middle around and we couldn’t get Callum [McLelland] on until late on.
“Unfortunately, he had to play Harry a bit longer than we anticipated, but I thought he got through it all right.
“After such a big injury and so much time off he’s probably not going to look [100 per cent], but he will get there quickly.
“I thought it was an exceptionally good performance, given what’s happened to him.”
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