Some 4s, two 7s in Peter Smith's Leeds Rhinos player ratings from 26-0 loss at Catalans Dragons

Leeds Rhinos failed to score for the second time in successive visits to the south of France when they were beaten 26-0 at Catalans Dragons this afternoon.

Leeds were much more competitive than last September’s 61-0 rout, but rarely looked like scoring. The final margin doesn’t reflect their effort in hot conditions – 12 of the points coming in the final three minutes - but Catalans also missed a series of chances and the margin could have been worse.

It was always going to be a tall order for an under-strength Rhinos team in tough conditions, but they contributed to their own downfall. Rhinos tried hard and defended well throughout, but made far too many mistakes and a nine-four penalty count against them was costly.

After a good early run near Dragons’ line, Lachie Miller had a nightmarish first quarter making four errors, including a knock-on coming away from Leeds’ line which set up Catalans’ opening try, scored at the corner by Tom Davies with Arthur Mourgue converting.

Miller booted the restart out on the full and then a penalty for a high shot gifted Mourgue a simple two points to make it 8-0, which is how it stayed until half-time. Catalans made their share of errors too, which was fortunate for Leeds who would have been 12-0 behind with a kick to come after just 27 minutes, if Chris Satae hadn’t dropped the ball over their line.

Rhinos’ only real threat came when Jack Sinfield’s kick forced a drop out which didn’t go 10 metres, but Luis Roberts spilled Miller’s pass in the set from the penalty. They looked to perhaps be grinding their way into the game early in the second period, but then Sinfield’s loose pass from a scrum 20 metres out from Catalans’ line was snapped up by Tom Johnstone and he scorched away for a try which Mourgue improved.

The score remained at 14-0 until the 77th minute when Mourgue sliced through for a solo try. He added the extras, Leeds were penalised from the kick-off - for the second time in the game, which is really poor - and Alrix Da Costa scored on the final play with the full-back landing his fifth goal.

Catalans Dragons: Morgue, Davies, Romano, Ikavalu, Johnstone, Nikorima, Abdull, Navarrete, McIlorum, Bousquet, Sims, Sironen, McMeeken. Subs Da Costa, Rouge, Satae, Maria.

Leeds Rhinos: Miller, Edgell, Roberts, Martin, Handley, Frawley, Sinfield, Oledzki, O’Connor, Sangare, Goudemand, McDonnell, C Smith. Subs Ackers, Lisone, Ruan, Johnson.

Referee: Tom Grant (Leeds). Attendance: 9,540.

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