Buderus powers Rhinos’ charge

Leeds 24 Hull KR 14
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Tries in the last 10 minutes from Danny Buderus and Lee Smith, plus St Helens' defeat at home to Wakefield, put the Rhinos level with the Saints on top of Super League.

On a night when any fluent rugby was difficult to sustain, Leeds did marginally better at cutting down on mistakes and penalties to eke out the victory.

The first half was predictably dominated by handling mistakes in the greasy, treacherous conditions but it was Leeds who took the early advantage. Michael Dobson knocked-on deep in his own half and Danny McGuire exploited the possession by kicking into the sodden in-goal on the last tackle of the subsequent set.

Brent Webb won the race for the ball, Lee Smith, kicking for the injured Kevin Sinfield, added the goal and the Rhinos were six up inside the first two minutes. It would have been twice as much if Smith had not fumbled a pass from Kallum Watkins after the pair had surged clear down the touchline.

It was the let-off Rovers needed, because in the remainder of the half they claimed the lead through two tries, both also created by kicks behind the tryline. Webb lost the ball trying to clear his lines and although Scott Murrell narrowly failed to touch down his own kick Leeds had to drop out and this time Paul Cooke opened them up, with Kris Welham exploiting the wet conditions by diving early and sliding over the try-line.

Murrell's kick set up Ben Cockayne in what was becoming a match of a single tactic, although Leeds could have been level by half-time when Carl Ablett charged down Dobson's drop goal attempt and threatened to kick and chase all the way to the other end, Dobson just getting back to put the ball dead. Dobson's break, carried on by Murrell, drew a penalty for Keith Senior's high tackle, from which Dobson extended the Robins' lead.

A couple of penalties at the other end after half-time however, built up the pressure that enabled Leeds to hit back. The decisive thrust came from McGuire, who slipped out a neat ball for Jamie Peacock to score.

The pressure became inexorable, and after Dobson had lost the ball in Senior's tackle, Buderus twisted his way over from dummy half.

That might have been enough, but a spectacular long-range effort from Smith, who also finished with four goals, made absolutely sure.

Leeds: Webb; Watkins, Smith, Senior, Hall; McGuire, Burrow; Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Ablett. Substitutes used: Buderus, Manning, Burgess, Ratu.

Hull KR: Cockaybe; Fox, Webster, Welham, Colbon; Cooke, Dobson; Vella, Fisher, Fozzard, Newton, Galea, Murrell. Substitutes used: Walker, Fitzhenry, Lovegrove, Wheeldon.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).