Hull 26 Leeds 34: Hull show their potential but fall to Leeds' late show

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The Independent Online

At the end of a week in which they got rid of one coach in John Kear and failed to persuade their choice as his replacement, Steve McNamara, to join them, Hull showed that there is still plenty to work with at the KC Stadium.

Hull could not hang on for a victory, but this was a reminder that coaching them remains one of the big jobs in the game. They expect to announce their new man on Monday with the Australian, John Lang, the name on most lips last night.

The first game without Kear was made the more poignant for being a repeat of last year's challenge cup final. Perhaps that acted as inspiration to Gareth Raynor, a try-scorer that day, who opened the scoring last night after two minutes, scooping up Paul Cooke's long pass to squeeze in at the corner. The lead did not last long, Leeds drawing level when Scott Donald and Chev Walker paved the way for Danny McGuire to go in for his 12th try of a productive season.

Hull were undeniably playing with far more penetration than of late and Kirk Yeaman put them back in front, getting the ball direct from a scrum and leaving Walker flat footed.

Leeds suffered a potentially more serious blow when their captain Kevin Sinfield was carried off with knee injury. Soon they were further behind when Chris Chester and Kirk Dixon exchanged passes down the right. Keith Senior caught Chester to knock the ball lose but Sid Domic was there to pick up the pieces and score.

Domic threatened to score again from Cook's acrobatic pass as Hull produced some of their best rugby since the Cup Final. There was only one thing with which they could not cope and that was the pace of McGuire, which was unleashed again by Jamie Peacock's offload for his second try after 30 minutes.

Hull remained irrepressible and they stretched their lead five minutes before half time through some more wonderful handling, with Cook and Yeaman sending Raynor in for his second.

Leeds struck first in the second half when Willie Poching managed to force the ball down despite three tacklers hanging on to him. Exceptional footwork from Richard Horne took him through 10 minutes later to keep Hull in control. Still Leeds refused to be shaken off with Walker's sheer strength taking him over to keep them in touch.

Finally, 15 minutes from time, they got their noses in front, McGuire's kick coming back off the post for Shane Millard to touch down. McGuire also supplied the pass from which Ally Lauitiiti went in to make sure of the Rhinos' victory although Hull kept hammering away at them defiantly until the end.

Hull: Tony; Dixon, Domic, Yeaman, Raynor; Cook, Horne; Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, Hill, Chester. Substitutes used: Brough, Wheeldon, Thackray, Whiting.

Leeds: Mathers; Donald, Walker, Senior, Smith; McGuire, Burrow; Peacock, Diskin, Feather, Poaching, Ellis, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Millard, Lauitiity, Bailey, Scruton.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).

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