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Saturday, May 1, 1999 Published at 22:25 GMT 23:25 UK


Sport: Rugby League

Rhino charge overpowers Broncos

Iestyn Harris and Leroy Rivett celebrate their Challenge Cup victory

Leeds Rhinos 52-16 London Broncos

Leeds came from behind to destroy London and secure their first Wembley victory in 21 years.


Dave Woods: "Leeds won their first trophy in 16 years"
The Rhinos had Leroy Rivett to thank for the awesome victory after his four try blitz obliterated an early challenge from the the Broncos.

The 99th Silk Cut Challenge Cup final had got off to a bang as the rank outsiders from the south tormented the Rhinos' defence to storm into a 10-0 lead with just 11 minutes gone.

Offiah on fire

It was Martin Offiah, who must have reminded Wigan followers of days gone by, dodging his way past the Rhinos to give London an early lead.


Leroy Rivett: "I've always dreamt of this"
The winger raced down a clear line in the 6th minute in typically rampant fashion and jigged his way past Iestyn Harris to give his side the perfect start.

It was fantastic finishing from a world class player and his try was easily converted by Rob Smyth.

More points soon followed when Robbie Simpson accepted a great ball from the instrumental Fleming.

It split the Rhinos' defence and Simpson raced clear to extend the Broncos' lead to 10-0 although Smyth failed to convert.

Leeds had been penned into their own half during London's purposeful start.

But Newton and Daryl Powell threatened to puncture the Broncos defence with two probing runs and the Rhinos finally got points on the board on 19 minutes through the boot of Harris.

Extended lead

As the game hit the 20 minute mark it became apparent that London were pushing too far forward and they were made to pay when Rivett scored the first Leeds try after Daryl Powell had caught the Broncos defence ball watching.

The conversion was hit wide but just before half-time a moment of brilliance from Brad Godden put the Rhinos in control of the game.

It was Fleary who produced a delightful half-break, and Godden interchanged passes with Jackson before stumbling out of Shane Millard's tackle to cross in the third minute of stoppage time.


[ image: Martin Offiah celebrates scoring the first try at Wembley]
Martin Offiah celebrates scoring the first try at Wembley
That levelled the scores, and Harris' successful conversion put the Yorkshiremen in front for the first time.

But just as everyone thought Leeds would assert their superiority London roared back into the match after the break, despite losing the experienced Offiah with a leg muscle injury.

A high kick from replacement Mat Toshack, the former North Sydney back, saw Fleming catch the Leeds defence on their back foot on the right wing and cross for an outstanding try which Smyth converted for a 16-12 lead.

Leeds hit back again in the 52nd minute when prop Barrie McDermott bustled his way past some half-hearted tackles after a tap penalty and dotted the ball down to give Harris the easiest of conversion opportunities.

London pressure

Concerted London pressure earned no reward and Leeds swept into an eight point lead when Rivett's scored after the ball was moved swiftly from the left wing to the right side of the field.

It was converted by Harris and now Leeds gained control.

Two minutes later Marcus St Hilaire went over followed by a Harris conversion which left the Broncos shattered and demoralised.

Indeed, the try of the match arrived when Rivett scored after a 90 metre run to complete his hat trick and effectively shatter the hopes of a London victory.

Harris went over and then Cummins scored in the corner as the Rhinos powered to a 30-point lead.

Edwards, leading London despite a broken thumb, had a try disallowed four minutes from the end.

And man of the match Rivett, a former East Leeds amateur player, fittingly had the last word with his fourth try.

The victory ensured Leeds broke the curse which has preventing them from winning anything apart from Regal Trophies and Yorkshire Cups since 1978.



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