Leeds 30 Hull KR 6: Error-strewn contest lit up by return of Rhinos’ Burrow

WELCOME BACK: Rob Burrow breaks the deadlock in the 59th minute to score for Leeds.
WELCOME BACK: Rob Burrow breaks the deadlock in the 59th minute to score for Leeds.
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Rob Burrow celebrated his return from a 10-match injury absence by coming off the bench to score two tries for Leeds in an otherwise forgettable encounter, that saw them retain second-place in the competition.

After almost an hour of turgid play, riddled with errors, Burrow dummied Neville Costigan to nip over from dummy-half and break the deadlock, to the delight of the home support.

The score ushered in an unexpected champagne spell of three tries in seven minutes for the Rhinos, with Liam Sutcliffe getting on the end of a five-man move to add the second, before Carl Ablett was first to Danny McGuire’s grubber for the third.

Rhinos coach Brian McDermott made four changes to the 17 beaten at Wakefield last week, with Kevin Sinfield returning to lead the home side and enjoying 100 per cent success with the boot.

Caretaker counterpart Chris Chester welcomed back Papuan international Neville Costigan as one of two changes in the Rovers’ ranks, though there was early disruption for the visitors when Rhys Lovegrove was helped off the field, unable to return after a collision with Ben Jones-Bishop, who also went off long before the break.

That was, however, no excuse for the litany of errors from both teams, which did not lend itself to creating anything resembling a spectacle.

However, Liam Salter was held up over the Rhinos’ line, while Carl Ablett went close for the home side as they sought the first breakthrough.

Perhaps the best move of the first 40 minutes went unrewarded as Leeds centre Kallum Watkins found space on the right, but his inside pass to Burrow was ruled forward before Tom Briscoe could ground the ball.

There was little improvement after the teams turned around, with neither side being able to hold on to the ball for long enough to build sustained pressure, which made the Rhinos’ purple patch even more surprising.

Rovers were not without their moments, one of which included a show-and-go score from dummy-half by Josh Hodgson, but their effort in hammering St Helens on Sunday clearly seemed to have taken the edge of them.

Sinfield’s superb midfield break was responsible for sending McGuire racing away for his team’s fifth try just five minutes from time, before Burrow bookended the scoreboard for Leeds, selling an outrageous dummy to full-back Greg Eden to race away and complete his personal double and a welcome win.

Leeds Rhinos: Jones-Bishop; Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Delaney, Aiton, Peacock, Ablett, Ward, Walters. Substitutes: Achurch, Burrow, Sutcliffe, Mulhern.

Hull Kingston Rovers: Eden; Caro, Welham, Hall, Salter; Burns, Keating; Netherton, Hodgson, Weyman, Horne, Lovegrove, Costigan. Substitutes: Larroyer, Walker, Green, Carlile.

Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington)