Leeds 30-6 Catalan Dragons

Super League

Teenage forward Zak Hardaker bagged two tries as Leeds beat Catalan Dragons to take their unbeaten run to five games.

Ryan Hall's converted try proved to be the only score of the first half, then Kylie Leuluai crossed, before Ian Henderson got one back to make it 12-6.

But Leeds ran in three tries in the final nine minutes through Hardaker (twice) and Rob Burrow.

And, with captain Kevin Sinfield kicking all five conversions, Leeds ended Catalans' eight-game unbeaten run.

Injury-hit Catalans were without Ben Farrar, Remi Casty and influential stand-off Scott Dureau.

And, in addition to coach Trent Robinson's latst three absentees, Catalans still have Daryl Millard, Steve Menzies, Clint Greenshields, Vincent Duport, Lopini Paea and Cyrille Gossard missing.

But, while Dureau is expected to return for next week's Challenge Cup fifth round tie at Huddersfield, the Dragons picked up a new casualty, Setaimata Sa going off with a pulled hamstring.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott admitted that the margin of his side's failed to reflect the battling efforts of the Frenchmen as they killed a tight game with three tries in the last nine minutes.

But the Rhinos were indebted to skipper Kevin Sinfield, who has played every minute of every game so far this season.

Once again operating in his less familiar position of stand-off, he had a hand or foot in three of their five tries, as well as kicking five goals.

Hall and Leuluai scored the tries that put Leeds 12-0 up while 19-year-old Hardaker made the most of his call-up with two sparkling tries to take his tally to three in just two Super League appearances.


Leeds coach Brian McDermott:

"Kevin Sinfield is managing games for us at the moment. I thought his kicking game was great. It suffocated the Catalans.

"And I'm not getting carried away because he scored two tries but I thought Zak Hardaker had a good game.

"We had a fair share of defence to do. I would say that was the toughest Catalan team I've seen for a while. They don't go away and they don't get lazy around the ruck.

"It was a very greasy ball and that had a bearing on the game. The conditions hampered their attack and they are missing some players, especially Scott Dureau, which hindered them."

Catalan Dragons coach Trent Robinson:

"I thought we deserved better. We stuck it to them and defended really well but our attack cost us in the end.

"We didn't ask enough questions of them and they got us with some nice, smart footie at the end."


Leeds: Smith; Hardaker, Delaney, Senior, Hall; Sinfield, Burrow; Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Pitts, Ablett.

Replacements: Hauraki, Kirke, Burgess, McShane.

Catalan Dragons: Stacul; Blanch, Baile, Pala, Vaccari; Sa, Bosc; Ferriol, Henderson, Fakir, Raguin, Mounis, Baitieri.

Replacements: Gigot, Simon, Martins, Touxagas.

Attendance: 13,273.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).