Leeds Rhinos lose Copperbox record against Vitality Superleague favourites Team Bath

Leeds Rhinos suffered their first defeat at the Copperbox against a dominant Team Bath.

Fi Toner: Returned for Leeds Rhinos as they sufferedd a 59-43 defeat against Team Bath.
Fi Toner: Returned for Leeds Rhinos as they sufferedd a 59-43 defeat against Team Bath.

The gap was too far for Rhinos to climb after an excellent second quarter from league leaders Bath. Both teams entered the game on the back of double wins last weekend, with neither side having previously lost at the Copperbox arena.

Team Bath have suffered only one defeat this season but, with Rhinos on an upwards trajectory under Dan Ryan, it was expected to be a fierce contest. The game started competitively, with the teams neck and neck throughout most of the first quarter. Great defensive work by Bath prevented Rhinos feeding the ball into Donnel Wallam, allowing them to pull away slightly.

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The five-time league champions led Rhinos 14-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Dan Ryan: Leeds Rhinos coach saw his side suffer a 59-43 defeat against Team Bath.. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Ryan made a change in the second quarter, with Fi Toner coming in at wing defence, replacing Emily Hollingworth. Team Bath dominated, continuously forcing Rhinos to pass backwards to Vicki Oyesola.

The first half ended 31-19 to Bath, with Rhea Dixon seeing little of the ball and not being able to influence the match.

Bath increased their lead in the third quarter and looked on course to continue their unbeaten Copperbox run. A phenomenal display by Serena Guthrie saw Bath lead Rhinos 43-28 at the end of the penultimate quarter.

Team Bath’s Summer Artman was given the first suspension of the Vitality league season in the fourth quarter, sent off for two minutes.

Whilst Rhinos managed to score 15 goals, they were unable to make up the deficit.

Team Bath won the contest comfortably 59-43.

Dan Ryan’s side are back in action next Sunday against Severn Stars, with the chance of a play-off place still in their sights.

Leeds Rhinos: Tuaine Keenan, Vicki Oyesola, Emily Hollingworth, Jade Clarke, Rhea Dixon, Brie Grierson, Donnel Wallam.

Team Bath: Eboni Usoro-Brown, Layla Guscoth, Imogen Allison, Serena Guthrie, Rachel Shaw, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Kim Borger.