Late onslaught has Rovers wilting

Leeds Rhinos 44 Hull KR 4
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The Independent Online

Leeds progressed into the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup comfortably enough last night, but inevitability was delayed by a plucky display from their lower division opponents.

Congestion at Headingley's reduced quota of turnstiles delayed the kick-off for 25 minutes. The nagging question, even after a morale-boosting win over Bradford in the last round, was whether Leeds would be as big a shambles on the pitch and, for Rovers, the early signs were encouraging.

Two Craig Murdock kicks forced knock-ons from Francis Cummins as the visitors pounded the Rhinos' line.

Leeds did have a Matt Adamson try disallowed for a forward pass, but the side from the Northern Ford Premiership were giving as good as they got until, after 15 minutes, sustained pressure wore them down and Ben Walker's pass sent in his namesake, Chev, for the first try of the night.

Playing into the gale and hail, Rovers were making too many handling errors. But their brave tackling kept their line in tact and they came close to a try when Bob Everitt lost the ball going over.

Leeds went straight to the other end for Marcus St Hilaire to score from Adamson's deflected pass. Then Walker again added the goal, this time from the touchline.

Rovers bounced back with Everitt scoring down the blind side from Whetu Taewa's smart pass. Only to be put back in their place before half time by Mark Calderwood's try.

Rovers began the second half still full of defiance and enterprise, but Chev Walker second try made their task impossible.

As the pace finally began to tell on the part-timers, a fluent Leeds move saw Keith Senior claim their fifth try, with Ben Walker again involved, as he had been in most of the Rhinos' best work. Rovers were still willing and Alasdair McLarron had a try disallowed that would have helped them towards further respectability.

Rob Burrow created a try for Kevin Sinfield and Senior grabbed his second as Rovers flagged. Ben Walker's footwork and Burrow's pace brought a last-minute try for a scoreline that hardly gave Rovers' effort justice.

Leeds Rhinos: Cummins; St Hilaire, C Walker, Senior, Calderwood; B Walker, Sheridan; Fleary, Diskin, McDermott, Hay, Adamson, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Burrow, McDonald, Poching, Jones-Buchanan.

Hull KR: Everitt; Godfrey, Scott, Taewa, McLarron; J Walker, Murdock; Hayes, Dixon, Richard Wilson, Rob Wilson, Schultz, Charles. Substitutes used: Aston, Fletcher, Luckwell.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).