Leeds 48 Harlequins 0: Rhinos demolish Quins to get back on track

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The Independent Online

The gap between first and second in Super League looked more like a chasm as Leeds put last week's blip against Castleford behind them with a convincing demolition of Harlequins.

"Leeds were outstanding – white hot," said the Quins coach Brian McDermott, who was forced to add Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook to his injury list with a broken wrist.

"I don't think there was a point in the game where I thought we were poor, I thought we were heroic in the second half, but we came up against a very good Leeds side that had a point to prove."

For Leeds' Brian McClennan it was a toss up whether it was the fluent attack or the parsimonious defence that pleased him more. "We tried right from the start to shift the ball," he said. "But the nil score line shows the grit in the side."

The game was only seven minutes old when Ben Kaye, making a tidy debut as hooker, got a pass away to Jamie Jones-Buchanan for the Rhinos' first try, followed three minutes later by one from Jamie Peacock, capitalising on a wonderful one-handed offload from Ryan Bailey.

Quins were frittering away what little possession they got and they were inevitably going to be punished further for that.

Keith Senior and Scott Donald were having a particular field day on the left flank and they combined after 27 minutes to set up Jordan Tansey for an easy try from long range.

Both sides were short of key players but it was Leeds who were adapting to their absence. Quins began to make some horrible defensive mistakes, particularly when assuming that a bad pass from Kevin Sinfield would be knocked on. Instead, Luke Burgess scooped it up, Brent Webb scored and Sinfield's fourth conversion made it a 24-point half time lead.

Sinfield sent Nick Scruton storming through for the first try of the second half. By this time, things were so disorientated that on one occasion Danny Orr got up and played the ball in the wrong direction by 180 degrees.

Quins were also baffled by Ali Lauitiiti's ability to get the ball out of the tackle. When that skill yielded a try it was Rob Burrow's 100th of his career.

There was still time for two of Leeds' young forwards to make their mark on proceedings, with Burgess going over from Sinfield's pass and Kaye getting his debut try from dummy-half in the last minute of a thoroughly one-sided affair.

Leeds: Webb, Hall, Ellis, Senior, Donald, Sinfield, Burrow, Leuluai, Kaye, Bailey, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Jones-Buchanan. Replacements: Tansey, Scruton, Burgess, Worrall.

Harlequins: McLinden, Wells, Clubb, Howell, Sheriffe, Orr, Rinaldi, Temata, Randall, Ward, Barker, Purdham, Mbu. Replacements: Heckenberg, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Grayshon, Worrincy.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield)

* A brace of tries from Todd Byrne saw Hull KR defeat Wakefield at the KC Stadium last night 18-8. Wakefield's Tevita Leo-Latu was dismissed late in the game for a high shot on scrum-half Adam Dykes.

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