Hull KR 0 Leeds Rhinos 50, Dejected Rovers Simply Outclassed By Rampant Rhinos At Wembley

Hull KR’s dream return to the Wembley cup final after a 29-year absence turned into an embarrassing nightmare as they were simply ripped apart as cup holders Leeds Rhinos retained their trophy.

Records tumbled as winger Tom Briscoe became the first player to ever score five tries in a Challenge Cup final and the Rhinos made it a record biggest winning margin eclipsing their 36 point victory in 1999 against London Broncos.

The Wembley showpiece was started with a heart-rending performance of the traditional Challenge Cup anthem Abide With Me by Lizzie Jones the wife of Keighley Cougars and Wales player Danny Jones who tragically passed away a few months ago playing for the Cougars in London.

Chris Chester named Albert Kelly in his starting side after the half-back recovered sufficiently in time from a knee injury that had kept him out since the semi-final victory against Warrington Wolves ironically at Leeds Headingley ground four weeks previously.

Rhinos coach Brian McDermott brought back Joel Moon and Kallum Watkins in the centers and Danny McGuire returned after missing the Super 8s victory at Hull FC a week ago and Jamie Peacock was restored to the starting line-up having started from the bench in that 36-22 win at the KC Stadium.

Leeds set their stall out early moving menacingly up-field but an organised defence from the robins held them at bay although in both of the Rhinos first two sets the ball was turned over to the men from the KC Lighstream Stadium within 10 meters of their line.

The first points duly came the way of the cup holders after Kevin Larroyer was adjudged to have reefed the ball out of the grasp of Jamie Peacock in front of the Rovers posts and Brett Delaney snapped up the loose ball to to touchdown under the posts, the conversion from Kevin Sinfield inevitably followed to give them a six point advantage in the 6th minute.

The early exchanges were clearly going the way of the holders but a note of caution for them was that Hull KR were not panicking as maybe a lesser team would have and sticking resolutely to their game plan and getting settled in to the contest.

The first bit of luck to go the way of the men in red and blue came when McGuire put a high bomb up and full-back Kieran Dixon came to take the ball and knocked it onto an on-rushing Leeds player but was then able to re-gather the ball without referee Ben Thaler seeing the knock-on.

The first test of the Rhinos defence came when a pass from Peacock was fumbled and knocked-on in the Leeds half giving Rovers possession and territory but the chance was wasted as Tyrone McCarthy dropped the ball in-front of the Rhinos defensive line.

Leeds then moved to the other end of the field all too easily and finally McGuire got on the end of a fast move down their right hand side to score the second try in the right corner, the touchline conversion was successfully added by Sinfield to make it a 12 point advantage.

Disaster struck again as Rovers went for a short kick-off and Leeds winger Ryan Hall gobbled up the ball to make the break and then a fast move from left to right saw Watkins put former Hull FC winger Briscoe in for their third try inside the opening 20 minutes, Sinfield hit the post with the conversion to leave the score 16-0.

Despite the dominant opening from the Rhinos their opposition kept plugging away valiantly no matter how hopeless the situation seemed for them.

Another chance came their way when a ball was batted back by Maurice Blair and Kris Welham kicked the ball forward but it went dead-in-goal, shortly after that a Leeds mistake gave Rovers more possession and territory but a kick to the right side was easily gobbled up by Hall behind the Rhinos line.

Leeds next visit to the Rovers line caused more pressure but a try was not forthcoming this time when a grubber kick by McGuire was snaffled up by former Rhinos player Shaun Lunt.

After Ken Sio dropped a ball Hall was held up over the line and then Kylie Leuluai was also held up and then a fast move to the right saw a chance squandered as Watkins dropped the ball.

Just when the robins needed a shift in momentum Kelly produced what everybody thought was a 40/20 but then referee Thaler reversed the decision to give them head and feed when replays showed his foot was about half an inch over the Rovers 40 meter line to the relief of the cup holders.

Rovers threatened again as John Boudebza made a smart break in the middle of the field giving Kelly a chance to run at the retreating Rhinos defence but after that was stopped the ball went to their left and was lost within 10 meters of the line again.

As the clock ticked down towards the break the game appeared to have slowed down and this was clearly to the benefit of Rovers as particularly James Donaldson and Welham were making impressions on the Rhinos defence.

Another chance came as Welham got to a hail-mary kick before Briscoe and Dixon suddenly had space to work in front of the Rhinos posts but his attempted kick through was stopped by full-back Zak Hardaker to see the Rhinos keep their 16 point advantage as the final reached half-time.

The second half started as the rain started to tip-down as Rovers hoped to make a record-breaking comeback for a Challenge Cup Final against the holders and Super League leaders.

The half started badly for them however as a mistake from Dixon gave Leeds a scrum 20 meters out after a kick by McGuire but they held them out and then a Sinfield grubber gave a glimmer of a chance as the full-back tried to get away down the right but then dropped the ball in the tackle 30 meters out to give the Rhinos another scrum.

Another attack though by Leeds was repelled as a pass by off-load machine Adam Cuthbertson ended up in Rovers hand just in-front of their posts.

The trophy was seemingly wrapped-up for the Rhinos after a spirited attack by Rovers as a kick by Maurice Blair was left by Dixon and Briscoe pounced and never looked back on a 90 meter race to the line despite the brave effort from Sio to try and stop him, the touchline conversion from Sinfield made it 22-0 in the 48th minute.

The more Rovers were panicking the more desperate the situation was becoming as the dream of playing at Wembley was turning quickly into a nightmare particularly for Dixon who was making mistakes with alarming regularity as the affect of playing lower league opposition in recent weeks was seemingly making a big difference against the battle hardened Rhinos.

The next name on the try scoring list was Brad Singleton as the big prop barged his way over despite the attentions of Dixon and video referees James Child and Richard Silverwood were happy to award the try as he managed to get the ball down before it squirmed free, the conversion from Sinfield made it 28-0 to the Rhinos in the 58th minute.

A rare attack by Rovers with an impressive build-up from a break by Graeme Horne promised to bear some fruit but eventually Larroyer was held up over the line.

Another attack shortly after saw a high kick from Kelly invite Josh Mantellato to chase but the bomb was easily defused by Hall again, Leeds then moved far too easily to the other end of the field and Briscoe was on hand to gobble up another pass from Watkins to slide over in the corner for his hat-trick, the touchline conversion attempt by Sinfield was somewhat hooked to leave the score at 32-0 with 15 minutes left to play.

Kelly finally got his 40/20 to give the robins a scrum 10 meters from the Rhinos line but another chance was wasted with a forward pass to Tony Puletua handing the possession back to Leeds.

Another opportunity came to Leeds as Watkins made a majestic break and then handed the ball inside to Rob Burrow for the diminutive number 7 to race in under the posts, the inevitable conversion by Sinfield stretched it it to a 38-0 lead for the treble-chasers with seven minutes left to play.

Within two minutes of that Briscoe was in for his fourth try after another break and pass by Watkins put him away down the right again, a sixth goal from eight attempts by Sinfield made it 44-0.

Dixon’s nightmare then carried on as he scooped up a kick and ran the ball back only to drop it in the first contact, McGuire snapped the ball up and put the ball out to Briscoe for the England winger to set a new record with a first ever five-try-haul eclipsing the four tries scored by Leroy Rivett in the Rhinos 1999 triumph against London Broncos, the conversion from Sinfield brought up the 50 point mark.

Chris Chester speaking afterwards said his team had not performed as well as they have shown for the rest of the season, jubilant Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said there had been a desire to give legends Peacock, Sinfield and Leuluai the perfect Wembley send-off but that they will also still be determined to carry off the league leaders shield and the Grand Final trophy as well.

Penalties- Rovers 2 Leeds 3

40/20- Rovers 1 Leeds 0

Lance Todd Trophy Winner- Tom Briscoe

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Hull KR 32 Catalans Dragons 26, Rovers Move Within 80 Minutes of Wembley With Tense Victory Over Channel Hoppers

Hull KR put their supporters through agony before booking a first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 with a nervous victory over Catalans Dragons after a dominant first half gave way to a substantially less disciplined performance in the second half.

Coach Chris Chester brought hooker Shaun Lunt and prop Dane Tilse back on the bench but the line-up remained largely the same as the 17 who had thumped Warrington Wolves in Super League last week for this Challenge Cup Quarter-Final at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

Catalans got the game underway on a balmy summer evening which might have suited the men from the south of France but the early exchanges saw the home side settling into their stride quicker with a kick from Kelly causing panic behind the Dragons line before the ball was knocked out to force a goal line drop out.

There was early controversy as the Robins were awarded a scrum after Kris Welham had clearly knocked the ball into touch in a tackle on Krisnan Inu, they then took advantage with a fast cross-field move which released Ken Sio down the right to score the first try of the game after seven minutes, the conversion from Josh Mantellato made it 6-0.

Catalans got their first chance at some sustained pressure on the home sides line a few minutes later after a ball was batted down by a Rovers defender to give them a repeat set which then led to Welham attempting an intercept but he was unable to drag the ball in causing more pressure.

Inu then came perilously close to a try but Welham then knocked the ball out of his hands deliberately but referee Phil Bentham gave the home side head and feed wrongly at the scrum.

The red and white’s then moved swiftly down-field and after a dropped ball by the visitors ended up in the hands of Kelly and eventually Kieran Dixon got over the line to stretch the lead after 17 minutes, the conversion from Mantellato made it 12-0.

The next attack from the Robins two minutes later came via a Maurice Blair kick, Mantellato got to the ball before Dragons full-back Morgan Escare and handed the ball on to Kelly to score, another goal from Mantellato made it 18-0.

Catalans then got another scrum inside their oppositions half but facing an organised defence they never really looked like cutting through to get back in the game as the game moved into its second quarter despite forcing a goal line drop out when Dixon was caught behind the line.

A break by Mantellato down the left wing and inside pass which cut-out two Catalans defenders and two Rovers attackers found its way to Graeme Horne for the back rower to go in behind the posts in the 29th minute, the inevitable conversion by Mantellato made it 24-0 and left the men from France facing a gap as wide as the Humber to try and recover.

To their credit the Dragons wouldn’t throw the towel in and a break in mid-field by Louis Anderson saw them set up the platform to build from and a delicious little kick from Elliott Whitehead was dotted down by Inu for their first try after 35 minutes, Scott Dureau was unable to add the extras which left them trailing by 20 points.

Rovers were then awarded another penalty in the last minute of the first half after a high shot on Horne and Mantellato duly obliged from 35 meters out to send his side in at the break 26-4 ahead.

The second half started with a bit of handbags at dawn between Inu and Lunt but from that the visitors then made the first attacking opportunity before Inu was denied by Welham after a high bomb.

An attack at the other end by Rovers was similarly unfortunate as Liam Salter caught a hick kick but was held down just short of the line.

Catalans were appearing more purposeful as the game wore on and Zeb Taia took advantage of a quick tap penalty for off-side to crash over in the 50th minute, a first conversion of the evening for Dureau reduced the gap to 16 points and give them some form of hope.

The next visit to the home sides line saw an audacious kick through by Tony Gigot and Inu followed it up to score in the corner in the 55th minute, Dureau missed the conversion but at 26-14 the Dragons seemed to be sensing a comeback which at half-time had looked like an impossibility against the in-form Robins.

The 50-50 calls that had gone the way of the men from East Yorkshire in the first half now seemed to be going more in favour of the Frenchmen.

Ken Sio finally added to his try tally as Rovers took the bull by the horns and a fast passing move saw him dive in at the corner in the 65th minute, the missed conversion left the score at 30-14.

However Catalans still wouldn’t go away and they charged straight to the other end and video referees Steve Ganson and Joe Cobb awarded a try to Ian Henderson in the 67th minute, the goal by Dureau reduced the deficit to 10 points again and a nervous tension descended on the ground again.

A measure of the concern for the home side became apparent with 10 minutes left when, after a crusher tackle on Dixon 10 meters from the Catalans line, Mantellato opted to take the two points on offer to give them a two converted try lead.

Catalans immediately went for a short kick-off and won the ball within Rovers territory which led to sustained pressure. Back-to-back penalties increased the pressure but Rovers stuck manfully to the task in hand to keep them at bay and a knock-on relieved the pressure and enabled them to clear their lines.

Another Catalans attack then produced another try as a kick through by Jason Baitieri was pounced on by Elliott Whitehead in the 78th minute and the conversion by Dureau put them back within one score of the hosts.

Rovers however saw the game out to move on to their first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 and within sight of a first trip to Wembley in nearly three decades.

Penalties- Hull KR 6 Catalans Dragons 9

Goal Line Drop Outs- Hull KR 1 Catalans Dragons 2

Attendance: 6,073

Hull KR 36 Warrington Wolves 10, Rampant Robins Move Within Striking Distance of Top 8 With Demolition of Wolves

Hull KR turned up the heat on the top 8 in Super League with an outstanding performance to blitz Warrington Wolves at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

The Wolves started this game as slight favourites despite their erratic form while Rovers tried to close in on the coveted top 8 in by following up their impressive win against Widnes Vikings last week.

The first chance of the game came the way of the Robins with back-to-back penalties giving them possession and field position close to the visitors line but the chance came to nothing after their third set on the Wolves line ended with a poor grubber kick which was snapped up by the defence.

The visitors then marched up-field but their own chance came to nothing as Ben Westwood was tackled just short of the line by Liam Salter which led to the handover.

In the next exchange Albert Kelly tried a kick which was charged down by Man of Steel winner Daryl Clark and the chance ended with Chris Hill going over under the posts in the 10th minute to give them a lead against the run of play, the conversion from Declan Patton stretched the lead to 6 points for the men in primrose and blue.

Rovers then marched to the other end and created an opening down their left but Maurice Blair’s kick for Josh Mantellato was cleared up by a well organised defence.

Another penalty to the visitors invited them to the other end again and when they earned a repeat set they had more chance to apply pressure but a dropped pass by Patton gave Rovers the chance to clear their lines again.

The next attack from the visitors ended with a speculative kick by Patton but it was well claimed by Mantellato before Wolves captain Joel Monaghan could pounce.

Referee James Child wasn’t endearing himself to the home support especially when James Laithwaite was allowed to get away with a blatant ball-steal in a two man tackle as loan man Tony Puletua closed in towards a first try for Rovers.

Warrington were getting more into their stride in the second quarter but workmanlike was the best way of describing the efforts of both sides in a very end-to-end affair in the first half with defence on both sides giving the most noteworthy contributions to the proceedings.

Eventually Ken Sio provided a piece of magic in the 36th minute after a fast cross-field move set him free from just over 40 meters out and the winger raced through to cross the whitewash in the right corner, the touchline conversion from Mantellato fell just short to leave the visitors two points ahead.

Rovers then had a second try awarded by the video referee after a kick by Kelly was caught by Monaghan but the ball was forced free after a clash of heads with Kris Welham and eventually Mantellato forced his way over in the 38th minute and then added the conversion to give the home side a 10-6 advantage at half time.

Rovers started the second half with more urgency and forced a repeat set near the Wolves line but Jordan Cox brought that to a stop by knocking on 15 meters from the visitors line.

However the home side soon forced another chance as Ryan Atkins was forced into touch less than 40 meters from the Warrington line but the resulting attack came to an end as a grubber kick from Kelly was snaffled by the Wolves defence.

A penalty for obstruction gave Rovers another attack and this time they took full advantage as Kieran Dixon cut through a non-existent defence and went over under the posts, the inevitable conversion stretched their lead to 10 points in the seventh minute of the half.

The Robins looked much the hungrier and better organised of the two sides and, with Kelly orchestrating the attack, they were making light of the absence of their talismanic captain Terry Campese.

The next Rovers attack saw a speculative kick from Kelly which Sio beat Gene Ormsby to and knocked back to Salter for the centre to just drop down and score in the 54th minute, the majestic touchline conversion from Mantellato made it 22-6 to Rovers.

A mistake by Dixon gave Warrington a chance as he dropped a high bomb under minimal pressure and eventually a quick move across field saw Ormsby slide in at the corner, Patton pushed the touchline conversion wide to leave the men from Cheshire trailing by 12 points after 58 minutes.

A mistake at the other end by Ormsby then gave Rovers another attacking scrum 15 meters from the away sides line but despite the threat Warrington maintained their slim chance by keeping them at bay this time.

A break by Dixon then led to another attack and a deft little grubber kick by Kelly saw stand-in captain Tyrone McCarthy get over the whitewash against his former club, Mantellato missed the conversion to leave the score 26-10 with just under 15 minutes left to play.

Mantellato then added a penalty from 40 meters out in the 70th minute to stretch the advantage to three converted tries for the home side.

A knock on by Warrington after one scrum then gave the Robins yet another attacking scrum close to their line and Kris Welham forced his way over from a delightful pass by Maurice Blair, Mantellato again added the extras to stretch the score to 34-10 with six minutes left on the clock.

Wolves prop Ashton Sims then gifted Rovers another penalty with a little braul which Mantellato duly converted from 40 meters out to make it 36-10 with the final act of the match.

This result will undoubtedly see Rovers deservedly head into their Challenge Cup Quarter Final at home against Catalans Dragons next week with great confidence.

Penalties: Hull KR 6 Warrington 3

Goal Line Drop Outs: Hull KR 1 Warrington 1

Man of the Match: Albert Kelly

Attendance: 7,455

Hull FC 46 Hull KR 20, Record Breaking Airlie Birds Dish Out Harsh Lesson to Cross City Rivals

A beaten-up Hull KR, short of several first team squad players, were made to suffer by their in-form derby rivals in the showpiece magic weekend event.

Hull FC racked up eight tries as they strolled to the highest score ever posted by either team in a competitive Hull Derby, eclipsing their previous record of 44 points set in 2008 at the KC Stadium.

As their side once again removed the shackles that had been placed on them by champions St. Helens the previous week the Old Faithful reveled in a scintillating attacking performance that was as organised as it was ruthless for the full 80 minutes at Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park stadium.

With props Mickey Paea and Liam Watts in commanding form against their former employers and ably backed up by a back row of captain Gareth Ellis, Aussie Mark Minichiello and, returning from injury, England international Joe Westerman the Hull pack created a go-forward that afforded half-backs Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd and hooker Danny Houghton the sort of time and space one could normally only dream of having in an intense derby battle.

Hull started the scoring in the seventh minute as Kirk Yeaman rose above Kieran Dixon to pouch a cross-field kick from Sneyd to grab his 150th Super League try, the conversion from Sneyd gave Lee Radford’s men a deserved 6 point advantage.

However that lead only lasted 4 minutes as a swift passing move from the Robins, involving captain Terry Campese and centre Kris Welham, led to a try for winger Josh Mantellato, to which the Italian added a majestic touchline conversion to bring the scores level at 6 apiece.

Again the black and white’s attacked a short time after that and a deft pass saw winger Fetuli Talanoa waltz in at the corner all too easily as Dixon was caught out of position to give Lee Radford’s men the lead again, this time Sneyd hit the post with his touchline conversion attempt to leave them with a 10-6 lead.

Soon after that Campese made a break down the middle and an exchange of passes with Welham left the the centre with space to go round the outside to score a seemingly certain try, however the Rovers man inexplicably decided to go on the inside where Minichiello was waiting to put him down with a thunderous tackle.

On their next visit to the Robins line Hull again breached a near non-existent defensive line with Houghton putting captain Ellis over with a peach of a pass, Sneyd again tacked on the extras to give his side a commanding 10 point lead.

Another attack from the black and white’s looked like it could lead to another try for them until Kieran Dixon pounced to race 90 meters to bring his side back into the game, Mantellato again added the conversion to make it 16-12.

Shortly before the break Hull again pressed the red and white’s line and Minichiello threw an outrageous dummy before carrying three would-be defenders over the line with him to score, a third successful conversion from Sneyd restored Hull’s 10 point advantage at the break.

Rovers needed to score first to keep their hopes alive, however that didn’t happen as Talanoa crossed the whitewash within four minutes of the restart, the conversion from Sneyd stretched the lead to 28-12.

Two minutes after that try the game was effectively over as a break manufactured between Pryce and Houghton down the middle saw full-back Jordan Rankin outpace Dixon to get on the score sheet, another successful kick from Sneyd took the lead to 22 points with 34 minutes left to play.

To their credit the men from East Hull kept battling away to make a game of it as Ken Sio made a 70 meter break and put Dixon in for his second try although the pass to the winger did appear to be forward.

Five minutes later Mantellato also bagged a second try to reduce the deficit further, however with him having left his kicking boots in the changing room at half time, the Italian was unable to improve either try which left his team 14 points behind.

Soon after that mini revival normal service was resumed as Talanoa finished his first ever hat-trick and Sneyd’s conversion took the black and white’s through the 40 point barrier for the second time in three games.

Hull then broke the record for the highest ever score in a competitive Hull Derby as Yeaman added his second try of the game and Sneyd added a 7th conversion from eight attempts.

Man of the Match: Danny Houghton

Penalties Hull FC 6 Hull KR 5

Attendance 40,871

Catalans Dragons 32 Hull KR 24, Errors and Discipline Cost Robins Dear Despite Brave Display

Hull KR were left ruing costly errors and poor discipline as they slipped to their second consecutive defeat in Super League and slipped out of the top 8 as a result.

With a game in hand on most of the teams above them after their involvement in the Challenge Cup last weekend there is no need for the robins to panic yet, what will cause concern is that they conceded 30 points for the second game in a row.

Jason Baitieri started the scoring for the home side after 7 minutes as the video referee deemed he had got the ball on the line without a double movement, the goal by Thomas Bosc gave the home side a 6-0 lead.

The lead for Catalans lasted just six minutes as Maurice Blair shrugged off three would-be tacklers and crashed in wide on the left, Josh Mantellato added the conversion from wide out to level the scores.

The game was fast becoming aggressive as both sides wrestled to take control, on the 19th minute Mantellato added a penalty to give the visitors a deserved 6-8 lead.

Albert Kelly pounced on a wayward pass and raced away from inside his own half but he was brilliantly chased down and tackled by Dragons full-back Morgan Escare which caused Kelly to lose the ball agonisingly short of the Catalans line.

Ben Cockayne got on the end of some fast cross field passing to stretch Rovers lead after 25 minutes, Mantellato hit the post with the touchline conversion attempt to leave the robins 6-12 ahead.

Just five minutes later Catalans marched down to the other end with the help of another penalty and Gadwin Springer crossed next to the posts to score in his second game for the Dragons, the conversion from Bosc brought the score level at 12-12.

Just 4 minutes before half time Catalans took the lead again as Todd Carney moved sideways across the Rovers defence and produced a pass to Michael Oldfield who touched down in the corner, Bosc hit the post with the resultant touchline conversion which left the Dragons with a four point lead at half time.

Half Time: Catalans Dragons 16 Hull KR 12

Rovers started the second half in profligate mood inviting pressure on their own line and, after just three minutes of the half, Eloi Pelissier pounced to score under the posts, the goal from Bosc gave the Dragons a 10 point lead.

Both sides kept trading possession as several dropped passes resulting in play see-sawing from one end to the other.

Kieran Dixon was lucky not to get 10 minutes in the sin bin after a blatant foul on Bosc as the French international knocked on.

Eventually Rovers took control of the possession they got and Kevin Larroyer, playing against what is technically his parent club, made a break down the left before handing on to the supporting Dixon who raced in under the posts to put the visitors back within striking distance, the conversion from Mantellato made it 22-18.

On 54 minutes Todd Carney created another try as he was allowed to offload in the tackle and Benjamin Garcia skipped his way over, the video referee overturned referee Richard Silverwood’s onfield decision to award the try, Bosc added the extras to stretch the home sides advantage to 10 points again.

More indiscipline followed as both sides seemed intent on winding each other up rather than trying to score points.

Elliott Whitehead finally took hold of the game by the scruff of the neck on 69 minutes and scored the home sides final try, Bosc missed the conversion to leave the Dragons leading 32-18.

With two minutes left Mantellato was awarded a try in the corner by the video ref and then kicked a majestic conversion from the touchline but it was too little too late.

In the final analysis this is a game the robins could, maybe should, have won and indeed they probably would have if it wasn’t for such poor discipline. The biggest concern though for coach Chris Chester may be that old defensive frailties seem to rearing their head again just ahead of trips to play Wigan Warriors in league and cup and a visit to table-topping Leeds Rhinos.

Final Score Catalans Dragons 32 Hull KR 24

Man of the Match: Kieran Dixon