LEEDS Carnegie secured a third successive win to continue their impressive start to the Championship season.
Admittedly, there won’t be many more comfortable than this as they eased past an Ealing side who continue to struggle following promotion.
They have lost all four fixtures so far conceding a mammoth 218 points along the way, James Lowes’s side showing little mercy last night as the West Yorkshire side ran in nine unanswered tries.
No 8 Ryan Burrows was colossal up front while full-back Stevie McColl once more showed the attacking prowess that made him so coveted during the off-season, scoring two tries and having a role in plenty of others.
In only his second Championship start, young fly-half Alex Lozowski – who began as a footballer on Chelsea’s books – demonstrated plenty of composure and class while missing only one conversion attempt.
After encouraging wins on the road at Cornish Pirates and Bedford Blues, this was a welcome return to Headingley for the first time since last season’s epic play-off victory over Newcastle and it sees Leeds rise to fourth ahead of next Sunday’s B&I Cup contest with Bristol.
Nineteen-year-old prop Jake Armstrong made his debut off the bench while Lowes was able to afford his captain Jacob Rowan, and others, a rare early finish such was the paucity of opposition.
Ealing is perhaps best known for the eponymous film comedies it produced in the period shortly after the Second World War and some of the fare last night did get farcical.
In fairness, though they have risen swiftly through the divisions with five promotions over the last decade, this step was always going to be the toughest and Leeds were in no mood to ease off.
The visitors’ scrum was in disarray early on when their hooker Richard Townsend came off injured after only 18 minutes.
Their tighthead Conor Carey endured a torrid time, too, up against the excellent Ben Harris and, when warned for continually going down, he was hauled off shortly after the half-hour,
Comically, the prop’s replacement Tim Brockett then committed the same foul and was yellow carded only seconds after entering the fray, effectively for his predecessor’s sins.
All of which meant Ealing’s third first-half front-row change – Steve Neville for No 8 Matt Evans – had to be enacted before they dared enter another setpiece.
Leeds, already 24-3 ahead, were lapping it up and there was no surprise when they crossed for a try bonus point in injury-time before the interval.
Rowan benefitted though his effort came courtesy of a lovely off-load from Harris who proved it is not only in the murky world of the scrum where he can be destructive.
Lozowski slotted his fourth conversion having also kicked a sixth-minute penalty and there was never any danger of an upset here.
Leeds had started at a pace when the impressive McColl cut a great angle back inside to arrow over between the posts in the third minute.
When Ealing sailed the restart into touch, Lozowski successfully kicked the resultant penalty before lively winger Oli Goss popped up in midfield to initiate their second try, McColl linking to good effect and Craig Hampson eventually sniping over.
Lozowski improved once more but it did not immediately signal an avalanche of points.
The hosts had issues with their line-out which struggled to function at times while Lozowski – clearly a talent – tried setting off on one of his runs without the ball leading to him recovering but being penalised for holding on.
Similarly, Josh Griffin coughed up possession when the fly-half’s inside ball had opened up a gap for the ex-Castleford Tigers centre and Ealing, who had struck a ninth-minute penalty through Andy Hall, briefly gained some confidence.
That dissipated quickly, however, as those scrum problems grew and Leeds found some accuracy with a well-crafted try, Lozowski’s smart inside ball setting McColl in motion from halfway again for Griffin to apply the finish.
Though Rowan went over before the break, it was almost the hour mark before Leeds added their fifth try. It needed Burrows to bring some order after some scrappy play, tapping a free-kick and charging directly through some weak defence.
Jonah Holmes gathered his third try of the season when the 21-year-old winger capitalised on Chris Kinloch making a mess of trying to intercept James Doherty’s pass. Ealing’s cause was not aided when Anders Nillson became their second player to be yellow carded but, by that point in the 72nd minute, it was all immaterial.
Replacement hooker Joe Graham scored from a rolling maul soon after and Lozowski crossed after another barrelling run from Holmes before McColl, fittingly, hacked on for his double.
Forwards coach Dave Baldwin said: “I think it’s always difficult in these games when you get so far ahead and it got a bit scrappy at times.
“But the lads kept plugging away and we got our rewards at the end with those final few tries and, personally, I thought Ryan Burrows was just outstanding.”
Leeds: McColl; Holmes, Lucock, Griffin (Burdon 53), Goss; Lozowski, Hampson (Doherty HT); Harris (Lockwood 63), Nilsen (Graham 63), Tussac (Armstrong 53), Smith (Hannay 58), Green, Walker, Rowan (Doyle 56), Burrows.
Ealing: Robinson; Kinloch, Henderson, Mclean-Dents, Chesters; Hall (Wheatcroft 65), Thompson (Parker 50); Storer, Townsend (Wilkes 18), Carey, Preocanin, Curry, Siggery (Nilsson 58), Bradley, Evans.
Referee: Ian Tempest (RFU).