Rugby League: All academic as Sinfield shows the way

Leeds Academy 40 Wigan Academy 14
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The Independent Online
IT WAS NOT quite a case of boys against men in the Academy Grand Final at Headingley yesterday, but Leeds showed that their youth development is several strides ahead of the opposition, writes Dave Hadfield.

Led by a virtuoso display from their 18-year-old stand-off, Kevin Sinfield, Leeds accounted for a Wigan team, wearied by two gruelling matches in the last week, with some ease.

Even at their best and freshest, Wigan would have struggled to contain the likes of Sinfield and the powerful forwards, Daniel Ward and Gareth Carvell.

Sinfield, who has already had a taste of first-team rugby, started the scoring with the first of his six goals. More eye-catching was the way he was involved in all their four first-half tries, throwing out the long ball that led to Andrew Kirk crossing, scoring himself from Chris Chapman's pass and then providing the ball for tries from David Foster and Scott Rhodes.

Wigan's only glimpse of hope came when Martin Roden dribbled ahead for Neil Turley to touch down, but Leeds always seemed to have an extra gear in reserve should it be needed.

Sinfield set up yet another try, this time for Gareth Hewitt, soon after the break and, although Andrew Isherwood re-plied with a long-range effort for Wigan, Carvell and Gary Smith both went over before Liam Bretherton got in for Wigan.

It has been a fine year for Leeds at first team level. Yesterday's evidence is that they have an abundance of talent coming through to ensure the club's resurgence will not be a flash in the pan.

Leeds: Wainwright; Kirk, Chapman, Hewitt, Foster; Sinfield, Rhodes; Wrench, Speak, Ward, J Jones, Carvell, G Smith. Substitutes used: Rayner, Cook, Cornell, Diskin.

Wigan:Turley; Bretherton, Lacey, West, Taberner; N Roden, Fisher; C Farrell, M Smith, McLoughlin, Isherwood, Clarke, P Farrell. Substitutes used: Irwin, L Jones, M Roden, Chambers.

Referee: D Ansell (Huddersfield).

Wakefield Trinity re-ignited their hopes of securing a European trophy with their second win of the Anglo-French Treize Tournoi. The First Division champions completed the double over Limoux with a 24-10 victory in a fiery encounter in the South of France.

Halifax, who finished third in the Super League, have sprung a surprise by releasing their captain, Karl Harrison.

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