Leeds Rhinos 48-22 Toulouse: Strong second half secures Qualifiers victory for Rhinos
By Press Association Sport
Last Updated: 11/08/18 7:39pm
Joel Moon and Brad Dwyer both scored twice as Leeds claimed a 48-22 victory in their Super 8s Qualifiers opener against Toulouse at Emerald Headingley Stadium.
Former Warrington hooker Dwyer opened the scoring early on and Australian centre Moon claimed a first-half double while England winger Ryan Hall was also on target in the opening 40 minutes.
Yet the French visitors claimed three first-half tries through Bastien Canet, Bastien Ader and Maxime Puech to make it 20-16 at the break.
The first try of the second period crucially went to Leeds as Dwyer completed his double before Richie Myler, Adam Cuthbertson, Carl Ablett and Ashton Golding sealed the win.
It was a welcome result for Kevin Sinfield's side, who were comprehensively beaten by Warrington in last Sunday's Challenge Cup semi-final and had won only one of their previous 12 games.
One dampener, though, was the fact that Hall was forced to leave the field injured early in the second half. The Rhinos face London Broncos away next Sunday and there will be a question mark over his fitness for that game.
Leeds, who named Ablett as captain and at stand-off, led when Dwyer dived under the posts to score.
Liam Sutcliffe added the extras but Toulouse steadied themselves and came roaring back to breach Leeds' line in the seventh minute.
Johnathon Ford, who was a dynamic cog in their wheel, dummied his way past the Leeds defence and provided a deft offload which ushered second-rower Canet over the line inside the left channel.
Full-back Mark Kheirallah missed the conversion and Leeds went up the other end to score their second try in the 13th minute.
Dwyer collected possession at acting half and found scrum-half Myler, whose long pass sent Moon over inside the left channel.
Sutcliffe this time failed to convert but Toulouse were game opponents and hooker Anthony Marion was twice held up over the line.
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But, Leeds always held a threat in attack and claimed a third try in the 24th minute as Moon completed his double.
It was a fine sweeping move which saw Dwyer, Myler and Sutcliffe all combine to find Moon advancing at pace inside the left channel.
The Australian showed impressive footwork and strength to evade a clutch of Toulouse defenders and dive over the line.
A fourth home try arrived for Leeds when a Toulouse defender dropped the ball and Myler showed speed of thought to send Hall racing over in the left corner.
As half-time approached, Toulouse came back to score twice in three minutes. Ader touched down fortuitously from a kick through and then Puech went over from William Barthau's pass.
Kheirallah converted both tries to make it 20-16 at the break and Dwyer claimed his second in the 55th minute when he cleverly darted over from dummy half.
Despite losing Hall to injury, Leeds kept their foot on the gas. Myler went over from Dwyer's pass before he turned provider to send Cuthbertson bustling clear
Ablett then touched down in the right corner for an eighth home score and, although Toulouse claimed a fourth try hen centre Chris Centrone scampered clear, Golding had the final say for Leeds.
He went over in the left corner from Brett Ferres' pass while Sutcliffe finished with six goals from nine attempts.