Griffin’s hat-trick highlight for Leeds Carnegie

Josh Griffin.
Josh Griffin.
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Leeds Carnegie scored 12 tries, including a hat-trick for Josh Griffin and two for stand-in captain James Doherty as they recorded their second win in the space of seven days against Aberavon.

Fatigue was clearly an issue for the Welshmen, who had welcomed Bristol to Port Talbot on Tuesday evening for a rearranged fixture, just 48 hours after James Lowes’ men had visited South Wales.

Leeds boss Lowes said: “The try count wasn’t important, we went down to Wales last week and had a really tough game against this side last week and all credit to Aberavon because they’ve had it really tough playing three times in a week.”

“It’s a strong performance and I’m pleased because it puts us in a strong position to qualify for the next round.”

Initially, both sides struggled to break the deadlock, with the opening 10 minutes littered with handling errors.

But, from a five-metre lineout, a strong drive from Carnegie resulted in Matt Smith opening the scoring, unfortunately Glyn Hughes’ conversion attempt drifted wide.

The second try followed moments later, with Chris Walker charging over from a maul close in and this time Hughes made no mistake with the kick.

Leeds continued to dominate, and a fast offload from Nathan Hannay after a good break from Griffin released Doherty to score his first try.

Props James Currie and Lee Imiolek then combined to allow the former Sale Sharks man to rumble over in the corner and secure the try-scoring bonus point seven minutes before the interval. The fifth score of the half was the best of the lot as Alex Lozowski waltzed his way through the Aberavon defence to score under the posts and Hughes made no mistake kicking the two points.

Leeds continued to exert pressure on the Aberavon line and a minute into the second half, Wasps loanee Jonah Holmes offloading to Griffin to score the sixth try.

Try number seven followed a minute later, with Griffin crossing over under the posts with former Moseley fly-half Hughes converting. An excellent carry from replacement James Doyle made 20 metres, before his pass inside allowed Doherty, returning from his loan spell at Otley, to score his second try.

With the Wizards losing replacement Richard Morris to the sin-bin because of obstruction, the hosts continued to pile forward allowing Ben Hooper to score. Then, having worked the ball out of the back of a five-metre scrum, Holmes, having switched from wing to scrum-half, released Shaun Jones to score his first try for the club against his fellow countrymen.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, there was time for Griffin to complete his hat-trick and fellow centre Fred Burdon to score and complete the rout.

Leeds Carnegie: Lozowski, Holmes, Griffin, Burdon, Goss (Georgiou 68), Hughes, Doherty (Barker 58), Imiolek (Lockwood 55), Freer (J Walker 48), Currie (Hooper 55), Hannay (Preston-Routledge 64), Smith, Myerscough (Doyle 51), C. Walker, Jones.

Aberavon: Murphy (Andrews 45), Powell (R. Jones 45), Edwards, M. Jenkins, Howells, Price, D. Davies, R. Jenkins (J. Jones 41), Otten, John, Geriat, Rowan (Morris 59), Thomas, Brown, Everett (Yardley 31). Not used: Schropfer, I. Davies.

Referee: Eddie Hogan-O’Connell.

James Lowes.

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