Catalan Dragons 12-40 Leeds Rhinos

Kevin Sinfield

Leeds Rhinos kept up their winning start by beating Catalan Dragons.

Michael Oldfield gave the hosts an early advantage but Leeds hit back with three tries to lead 18-6 at half-time.

Joel Moon, Brett Delaney and Tom Briscoe all went over, before early second-half tries for Carl Ablett and Ryan Hall put the Rhinos in control.

Jean Philippe-Baile closed the gap, Kevin Sinfield took his personal tally to 16 points by converting his own try, then Hall went over for his second try.

It was a man-of-the-match display from England captain Sinfield, who had looked like missing the game with an ankle injury.

The hosts took the lead in the eighth minute when a clever play down the blindside from the base of the scrum brought Oldfield the game's opening try. William Barthau added the extras.

But Leeds turned the game around with two tries - both converted by Sinfield - in three minutes.

An excellently timed pass from Delaney saw Hall combine down the touchline to send Moon over in the left corner.

Delaney then turned try scorer as he took advantage of Paul Aiton's flat pass to put the visitors ahead.

Clever work from Kallum Watkins sent Briscoe clear down the right for the Rhinos' third try, awarded after a long look by the video referee, Sinfield landing his third kick.

Sinfield took his personal tally to 10 points with two more successful conversions to help extend his side's 12-point half-time lead.

Ablett stormed through an attempted tackle on the line from Rob Burrow's pass and Moon's offload sent Hall free for his first try of the season.

Philippe-Baile collected a chip-kick in the corner to close the gap for Catalan, who were missing eight first-team regulars, while Barthau kicked his second conversion.

Briscoe had a second try ruled out for Leeds, as the video referee adjudged that he had not grounded the ball in the corner.

Sinfield finished off a six-man move to run in the visitors' sixth try, which he converted himself, before Hall's second try rounded off a convincing victory.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott:

"We planned for it being a tough fixture, but we also appreciated that Catalan have got a lot of key members of their team missing.

"We said that if we just live with them for the first 30 minutes then we should have some opportunities at the end of the first half. It pretty much went to script but, for that to happen, we had to be very, very tough.

"I thought Kevin Sinfield was going to have two weeks off after his ankle injury, but it's remarkable what can happen with medicine. You have to give Kevin a lot of credit. He did everything he could to make sure he would be ready and, to top that, he was instrumental in the game."

Catalan coach Laurent Frayssinous:

"It was a tough game for us against very good opposition. Leeds were too good for us tonight. It seemed like England versus France at times.

"They strangled us with their last play. They're pretty good at that. Danny McGuire and Kevin Sinfield have been good at it for many years.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't do that when we were attacking their line and that is why they have won so many finals in recent years."

Catalan Dragons: Escare; Vaccari, Millard, Baile, Oldfield; Pryce, Barthau; Lima, Henderson, Paea, Whitehead, Taia, Mounis.

Replacements: Maria, Simon, Fakir, Baitieri.

Leeds: Hardaker; Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall; McGuire, Sinfield; Leuluai, Aiton, Peacock, Ward, Ablett, Delaney.

Replacements: Burrow, Bailey, Clarkson, Singleton.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (RFL).