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Page last updated at 21:49 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Crusaders 6-34 Leeds

Crusaders (6) 6
Tries: Raynor Goals: Witt

Leeds (6) 34
Tries: Donald, McGuire, Lauitiiti 2, Sinfield, Delaney Goals: Sinfield 5

Jordan James and Jamie Jones-Buchanan
Jordan James, of Crusaders, tackles Leeds' Jamie Jones-Buchanan

Leeds scored 28 unanswered second-half points to get their Super League defence off to a winning start in snowy conditions at plucky Crusaders.

The Welsh side held the Rhinos at 6-6 midway through the second period after Gareth Raynor's try had cancelled out Scott Donald's effort for Leeds.

But Leeds got their noses in front with a breakaway Danny McGuire score.

And Ali Lauitiiti (two), Kevin Sinfield and Brett Delaney all went over late on as the champions eased to victory.

It was tough on Brian Noble's hastily-assembled Crusaders who went toe-to-toe with Leeds for much of the contest.

And the Welsh side's display would have certainly encouraged the 10,334-strong crowd at the Racecourse Ground, who even saw them take an early lead through Michael Witt's penalty after the Rhinos had been penalised for offside.

Normal service appeared to have been resumed when Nick Youngquest, one of eight debutants for Crusaders, allowed a Delaney kick to slip through his legs to present Donald with the simplest of scores.


But Noble's men went into the break level when Vince Mellars claimed Witt's high kick to send Raynor over in the corner.

That was the way it stayed until the final quarter when Leeds ran riot.

McGuire opened the floodgates by racing from deep inside his own half to score as Leeds turned defence into attack, before Lauitiiti bundled over the line from close range.

Kevin Sinfield, who converted five of his side's six tries, raced on to Danny Buderus' clever kick to touch down, and then turned provider by releasing Delaney with a well timed pass.

And Lauitiiti completed the scoring in the dying seconds when he forced his way over despite the best efforts of the home defence.

Crusaders coach Brian Noble:

"I thought the level of commitment shown by the players was fabulous. We will improve as a team as we add players to it.

"The players should be proud of what they achieved after 65 minutes but Leeds showed us in that last 20 minutes that you've got to play for 80 minutes.

"But there are some exciting things happening here and, if the players keep working hard, they will win a few games this year. All the signs are there."

Leeds Rhinos' Danny McGuire on his try being the turning point:
"We probably needed that, we were under a bit of pressure.

"They put a big pack out there tonight and our forwards fronted up really well today.

"It was a tough game, full credit to the Crusaders. Conditions were pretty cold, pretty tough but we showed in the second half what we're capable of doing.

"There's a lot to work on but we're pleased with the first outing."

Crusaders RL: Youngquest, Dyer, Trimarchi, Mellars, Raynor, Witt, Withers, O'Hara, Lee, Bryant, Chan, Peek, Winternstein.
Replacements: Thackray, James, White, Lupton.

Leeds: Watkins, Donald, Delaney, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield.
Replacements: Lauitiiti, Diskin, Eastwood, Kirke.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).

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see also
Crusaders to make a Super splash
29 Jan 10 |  Rugby League
Noble bemoans lack of preparation
25 Jan 10 |  Crusaders
Celtic Crusaders 0-68 Leeds
22 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League
BBC'S Super League Show
01 Feb 10 |  Rugby League

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