Super League: Hull KR shock Leeds Rhinos
Hull KR virtually secured their place in the Super League play-offs with a shock 16-12 victory over champions Leeds.
Last Updated: 16/08/13 11:29pm
Rovers had lost their last three games heading into this one and few gave them a chance of upsetting the Rhinos, but first-half tries from Jordan Cox and Rhys Lovegrove and a superb defensive display secured a famous victory.
Leeds applied the early pressure but had to wait 18 minutes to force a breakthrough when Liam Sutcliffe burst through in midfield, shrugged off the attempted tackle of Michael Dobson and had Kallum Watkins on his shoulder to take the inside pass and dive over unopposed.
Kevin Sinfield converted, taking the Rhinos skipper past 3,000 Super League points and the Headingley crowd settled in for the expected comfortable victory.
But after Leeds were caught offside and Rovers gained their first attacking position of the half, Dobson put in a crossfield kick and Ryan Hall fumbled the ball into the arms of Cox, who crashed over.
Referee Richard Silverwood declined to use the video referee and if he had, the try may well have been ruled out for a knock-on by Sean Gleeson. Dobson converted and the scores were level.
For all their possession, Leeds continued to lack much attacking flair and they paid the price on the stroke of half-time as Lovegrove stormed over in the corner, powering through the attempted tackle of Ben Jones-Bishop and touching down. Dobson converted and Rovers led 12-6 at the break.
When Hall dropped a second Dobson bomb two minutes after the re-start, Zac Hardaker was caught offside and Dobson's penalty stretched the lead.
The rest of the half was notable for Leeds' stolid attacking and Rovers' solid defence.
At one point the Rhinos had 28 successive play-the-balls in the Rovers half due to three penalties and two drop-outs, but they never really looked like scoring, such was the disciplined defence and shortage of attacking nous.
When they did create a chance through Sinfield's grubber kick, Ryan Hall bounced the ball in the act of touching down.
Dobson added another two points with a penalty before Leeds finally broke through seven minutes from time, as Sinfield's cross-field kick was well collected by James Duckworth who flicked inside for Watkins to score.
Sinfield's conversion preceded a frantic finale and the skipper could have won it at the death as Hall raced down the left and passed inside, only for Sinfield to drop the ball with the line at his mercy.