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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 June, 2003, 20:16 GMT 21:16 UK
Rhinos relieved to tame Tigers

Sunday's games

Hull 20-26 Bradford

Hull coach Shaun McRae sprang to the defence of Richard Fletcher following the second rower's controversial dismissal in the home defeat by Bradford.

"I have just looked at the incident and I am absolutely astounded," said McRae.

I thought we were super today and I thought the final scoreline flattered them
Bulls coach Brian Noble

"I could show you hundreds of instances of similar contact between players where no action has been taken.

"But he has been sent from the field so we will have a case to answer."

Both coaches admitted the dismissal was the turning point of a rousing match watched by a bumper crowd of 19,539 at the Kingston Communications Stadium.

Bradford boss Brian Noble said: "It was a pivotal moment, there is no doubt about that. But it doesn't mean you can go and kick someone."

London 40-18 Widnes

London Broncos coach Tony Rea was delighted that his plan to put visitors Widnes under early pressure had paid off to such good effect.

The visitors conceded six first-half tries in 23 minutes and Rea said: "We worked hard to get ourselves on a roll in the first half and we kept it up.

I am very concerned with our defence at the moment and it is a major thing we have to work on
Widnes boss Neil Kelly

"We knew it would be different in the second half and so it was. We wanted to stop Widnes getting a similar type of roll and we just about managed it.

"Rob Purdham and Chris Thorman are forming a strong combination at half-back. Thorman is playing exceptionally well and he must be a strong contender for an Origin place."

The match was played in Aberavon and for Widnes coach Neil Kelly, who is also the Welsh national coach, this was a trip to the principality he will not remember fondly.

"I came down hoping to show the Welsh public what we can do but it didn't happen," he said.

Huddersfield 28-26 Halifax

Halifax coach Tony Anderson insists his struggling side can stay in Super League despite suffering a 12th straight defeat to leave them eight points adrift at the bottom.

"This is not the end. I don't think it is over. We still have to play Huddersfield again and Wakefield twice," said Anderson.

We have shown we can graft out results in tough circumstances like today
Giants boss Tony Smith

"There was plenty of spirit today. I was pleased with that but not the performance.

"I thought we were poor. There was always effort but we did things today that weren't planned or practised on the training field."

Huddersfield coach Tony Smith was just happy to see the Giants' run of six straight defeats ended.

Smith said: "I am very pleased with how the players performed under the circumstances.

"We were playing against a team that is desperate - we managed to see them off."

Wakefield 32-12 Warrington

Warrington coach Paul Cullen accepted that Wolves had been beaten by the better side after their defeat at Wakefield.

"We came up against a side that was more determined, more professional and more desperate for the win than we were," said Cullen.

Even though we scored 32 points I think it was our defence that set the platform for us to go on and win.
Wakefield coach Shane McNally

"They completely knocked us out of our stride and you have to give them credit for that.

"Wakefield discovered our soft under-belly and the way that they aggressively played in offence and defence meant they deserved their victory."

Opposite number Shane McNally was pleased with the way his side contained a team which had been showing signs of good form in recent weeks.

McNally said: "I was very happy with our performance, particularly in the second half.

"They are a very good attacking side and they have been running in plenty of points in recent weeks so to hold them to nil for 40 minutes was a great effort."

Saturday's game

Leeds 39-26 Castleford

Leeds coach Daryl Powell was relieved to escape with his team's unbeaten home record intact after the Rhinos were taken all the way by a determined Castleford side.

Powell's men twice came from behind to win 39-26 and consolidate their position at the top of Super League, with winger Francis Cummins scoring two of their seven tries to reach a Super League century.

We will look a lot healthier next week when there is a possibility of three players coming back
Tigers coach Graham Steadman

Powell said: "I thought Castleford played extremely well but we didn't help ourselves by making numerous errors.

"We've got to be happy that we're still at the top of the pile but we have to improve a little bit."

Castleford, who had won their three previous games, handed 35-year-old Dean Sampson his first start since his comeback and gave a debut to 17-year-old prop Craig Huby after Nathan Sykes pulled out of the match to attend the birth of his first child.

"The 80 minutes took its toll and with 20 minutes to go we were playing catch-up. It was a big ask and we just fell short," said Tigers coach Graham Steadman.

Friday's game

St Helens 34-38 Wigan

Wigan coach Stuart Raper was full of praise for teenager Luke Robinson after his hat-trick of tries helped the Warriors to a sensational victory over Super League champions St Helens.

"He is a typical British half-back, the Andy Gregory type," Raper said of the 18-year-old, who has been out since April with a broken hand.

"He has a great attitude and plenty of bravado and takes the ball to the line.

With that lead, we should have won it... we can't afford too many losses
Saints coach Ian Millward
"They were on fire in the first 20 minutes and, when they went 20-0 up, I was wondering what I was going to say to lift them at half-time.

"But they did it themselves. They had the self-belief and played some great footie."

St Helens have picked up just three points out of a possible 10 and are in serious danger of slipping out of the top six for the first time in the Super League era.

"With that lead, we should have won it. We were playing as well as we have played since Bradford and Castleford but our completion rate was poor in the second half," said Saints coach Ian Millward.

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