Rhinos rampant as Hall gives Hull hell

Hull FC 24 Leeds Rhinos 48
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The Independent Online

The Challenge Cup occupies a special place in Leeds' ambitions this season, so this was a good time for the Rhinos to produce one of their most commanding performances.

Four tries from Ryan Hall (pictured) were an obvious highlight, but this fourth-round win was just as much about Hull's inability to contain some of the Rhinos' less heralded players, such as Carl Ablett and Ian Kirke.

Singling that pair out for special praise, Leeds' coach Brian McClennan said: "It's always difficult to come to Hull and I thought we played pretty well – it's probably the best we've defended all season."

One of the main pre-match questions was answered when Hull named a team without Sean Long. The other notable absentee was the scheduled referee, Steve Ganson, who pulled a calf muscle in the warm-up and was replaced by Richard Silverwood.

Hull led early on with a try that showcased the skills of their second-rower, Willie Manu. He kept an attack alive by popping a ball out of the tackle and, when it came back to him, put in a grubber kick Long would have been proud of for Tom Briscoe to score.

Leeds, getting the benefit of the bounce twice, hit back when Ablett went through some weak tackling to touch down. But then Ablett knocked down Briscoe's pass in-field and Jordan Tansey pounced against his former club.

But Hull were then swept away by four tries before the break. First they opened up again for the deceptive Ablett, who put Brent Webb over. Then Kirke also exposed the fallibility of their midfield defence by barging through.

Ryan Hall stepped in next, first capitalising on a knock-on by his namesake, Craig, and then finishing off a sparkling handling move, initiated by Ablett. This mayhem ensued after the return, via the bench, of Jamie Peacock from injury.

After the break Hall rounded off a 12-minute hat-trick from the sharpest of passes from Rob Burrow, who also produced a lovely kick for Webb's second. Burrow was sin-binned for fighting – well out of his division – against the massive Epalahame Lauaki.

During his absence, Jordan Turner got over for the hosts, who also collected two points from Richard Whiting. More typical of the flow of play was Hall's 90-metre run for his fourth try.

Hull Tansey; C Hall, Whiting, Yeaman, Briscoe; Washbrook, Horne; Radford, Houghton, O'Meley, Manu, Tickle, Fitzgibbon. Substitutes used: Lauaki, Dowes, Cusack, Turner.

Leeds Webb; Smith, Delaney, Senior, R Hall; McGuire, Burrow; Leuluai, Diskin, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield. Substitutes used: Buderus, Burgess, Kirke, Peacock.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

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