St Helens v Leeds Rhinos - looking back at five classic Challenge Cup meetings

Saturday's third round tie will be the 21st time Leeds have played St Helens in the Challenge Cup and so far they have the upper hand by 11 wins to nine.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 5:00 pm

Here we look back at five classic Cup clashes between the sides, who first met in the competition 110 years ago.

1971: Second round. Leeds 4, St Helens 0. Defences dominated in front of a crowd of 16,500 at Headingley. Mick Shoebottom and John Holmes both landed a second half drop goal - worth two points - to send Leeds through, after a scoreless opening 40 minutes.

1972: Final, at Wembley. Leeds 13, St Helens 16. Leeds battled bravely after a terrible start, but missed goal kicks proved costly. The Loiners gained revenge when the sides met again in the Championship final a week later.

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Danny McGuire touches down for Leeds in the 2003 semi-final agianst Saints. Picture by Steve Riding.

1978: Final, at Wembley. Leeds 14, St Helens 12. In one of the greatest Cup finals, Leeds trailed 10-0 after 13 minutes and 12-5 at half-time, but clawed their way back to equalise through a Phil Cookson try in the dying moments. John Holmes and David Ward then kicked drop goals before Saints’ Derek Noonan dropped the ball just short of the line on the last play of the match.

1994: Semi-final, at Central Park, Wigan. Leeds 20, St Helens 8. Saints dominated possession and territory, but a magnificent defensive effort - plus two tries by Ellery Hanley - secured Leeds’ first return to Wembley since 1978.

2001: Semi-final, at JJB Stadium, Wigan. Leeds Rhinos 22, St Helens 27. Injury-hit Rhinos gave a good account of themselves in a thrilling, see-saw clash which Saints didn’t seal until the final moments.

2003: Semi-final, at McAlpine Stadium Huddersfield. Leeds Rhinos 33, St Helens 26 (after extra-time).

Jamie Peacock storms away to store for Rhinos in their 2015 Cup semi-final defeat of Saints. Picture by Steve Riding.

Young substitute Danny McGuire was the hero of the competition’s best-ever semi-final. His try on the final play of the 80 minutes, converted off the touchline by Kevin Sinfield, levelled the scores and he weaved over for the clinching touchdown in the dying moments of extra-time.

2015: Semi-Final, at HJ Stadium, Warrington. Leeds Rhinos 24 St Helens 14. Rhinos produced a blistering first half performance in a Friday night semi-final, with Jamie Peacock’s brilliant try being the highlight.

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