Leeds 48 Cardiff 3: Marshall's magic too late to secure Leeds place in quarter-finals

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The Independent Online

If the Tykes had not been so ineffective in the first match against the Blues, they might have gone through as one of the two best runners-up, for the first time in their history. For the time being, certainly so far as Europe is concerned, Leeds are history.

Leeds were fortunate to return from last weekend's twice-postponed game at Calvisano with five points in the bag. The subplot to the afternoon - with all its uncertainties - was a first appearance in Yorkshire by Jonah Lomu. With his name on the teamsheet, it almost doubled the average attendance for Tykes' home matches, though while Marshall was man of the match, the big man was, like the rest of his team-mates, ponderous and lacking any sort of invention or inspiration.

In no time it became clear that Cardiff were not going to make it. They were slipshod, unaware, imprecise, poor at the line-out and too frequently turned over, which led their director of rugby, David Young, to declare afterwards: "To say we are disappointed is a huge understatement. Our skill levels were poor and we allowed Leeds to dominate the tackle area."

Marshall had already fired a snap drop goal to put Leeds into the lead, before the Tykes really cut loose. Tom Palmer won the ball, Marshall flicked it to Chris Bell, Lomu was left stranded in no man's land and Andre Snyman finished off the sparkling move for the opening try. Ross added the goal points. It took the Tykes another 17 minutes to expose Cardiff's soft defensive under-belly. This time it was from a line-out drive. Palmer won possession, Mike Shelley took it on and, when smothered, Palmer relieved him of the ball and plunged over for the try.

There was more to come from Leeds before the half-time break was reached at 24-3. Nick Macleod scored Cardiff's only points with a penalty, but the Tykes responded with another blistering attack. Marshall started it, and Bell had the vision to sling an overhead pass to Tom Biggs, for the diminutive winger to touch down - Ross adding the conversion.

The one-way traffic continued after the interval. Snyman crossed for his second try, and a penalty try was then awarded when Cardiff pulled down a maul. Marshall and Dave Doherty crossed for tries six and seven, while Ross completed the demolition with two more conversions.

Leeds: Tries Snyman 2, Palmer, Biggs, penalty try, Marshall, Doherty; Conversions Ross 5; Drop goal Marshall Cardiff: Penalty Macleod.

Leeds: R De Marigny; A Snyman (D Doherty, 65), R Vickerman, C Bell, T Biggs; G Ross, J Marshall (D Care, 65); M Shelley (R Gerber, 61), G Bulloch (R Rawlinson, 61), G Kerr, S Hooper (capt), T Palmer (J Dunbar 65), S Morgan, R Parks, N Thomas (R Reid, 61).

Cardiff: R Williams (capt); C Czekaj, J Robinson, M Stcherbina (T Davies, 76), J Lomu; N Macleod (Lee Thomas, 57), M Phillips (Ryan Powell, 65); G Jenkins, Rhys Thomas (D Goodfield), Martin Jones (J Yapp, 72), D Jones (C Quinnell, 57), R Sidoli, Andy Powell (R Sowden-Taylor, 55), M Williams, X Rush.

Referee: C Berdos (France).