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Super League: Leeds Rhinos worthy winners, says Shaun Wane
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Wigan coach Shaun Wane refused to use the absence of Sean O'Loughlin as an excuse for his side's 28-12 Super League defeat at leaders Leeds.
Rhinos coach Brian McDermott admitted he was relieved to see the Warriors' captain missing from the team sheet as his side extended their winning run to six matches.
"There was a sigh of relief ," McDermott said. "He may have been the difference tonight. I was grateful he wasn't playing."
England wings Ryan Hall and Tom Briscoe were among the try-scorers as Leeds condemned the champions to a third domestic defeat of the season, all of which have come in the absence of their inspirational captain.
"I would rather he played," Wane said. "He slightly tweaked his groin in the team run and I wasn't willing to risk him. We still had the team to win but we were beaten fair and square.
"I thought the best team won. They they ended their sets better than us. They're a fantastic team.
"They have a lot of players who know how to win games and they managed the game well.
"Our effort was really good but we were dumb at times."
O'Loughlin's frustration was in marked contrast to the pride of his opposite number Kevin Sinfield, who led his team to an impressive win on his record-equalling 416th Super League appearance.
Sinfield took on the dummy-half duties in the absence of a specialist hooker after second rower Chris Clarkson had started in the role to help offset the absence of Rob Burrow with a fractured collarbone.
"It might have been a gamble but it was a calculated one," McDermott said of his experiment with Clarkson.
Leeds' classy outside backs were the stars of the show with their clinical finishing but McDermott was more pleased with their defensive efforts.
"They also keep turning tough carries out and making hard yards for the team," he said. "Without the tough stuff at the other end of the field, you don't get to score those tries.
"It was a satisfying win. It was a very tough game and we lost our way a little bit, especially in the first half.
"It got a bit scrappy in the second half but that happens sometimes when the game is played at an intense level we haven't been at for a while. The way we stuck at it was probably the most satisfying thing."Super League. Click here to bet.
First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 16 - 58 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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