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Page last updated at 23:31 GMT, Saturday, 28 August 2010 00:31 UK

Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield embarrassed by Cup loss


McClennan concedes 'better team won'

By Ged Scott
BBC Sport at Wembley

Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield admitted that he was "embarrassed" by his side's performance at Wembley after their 30-6 Challenge Cup final loss to Warrington.

The Super League champions were destroyed by the Wolves, guided by former Rhinos coach Tony Smith, losing by six tries to one.

Sinfield told BBC Sport: "We're disappointed and embarrassed that we didn't play like we could.

"I'm gutted. Things just went wrong from minute one."

Asked exactly what went wrong as Leeds suffered their sixth Challenge Cup final defeat in their last seven attempts, Sinfield admitted: "A whole host of things - we just weren't good enough - 2 out of 10.

"Warrington played some great stuff. They executed things better than we did and deserved it. We were beaten by the better side."

Leeds were appearing in their 21st Challenge Cup final, having won the trophy 11 times, the first of those coming exactly 100 years ago in 1910, when they beat Hull 26-12 in a replay at Fartown, Huddersfield.

That sequence of victories also included an 18-2 win over Warrington in the only other Challenge Cup final meeting between the two clubs at Wembley way back in 1936.

When they won it twice in successive years in the late Seventies, beating Widnes 16-7 in 1977 before seeing off St Helens 14-12 the following year, Leeds had won 10 of the 14 finals they had appeared in.

You have just got to acknowledge a great performance by Warrington

Leeds coach Brian McClennan

Of their seven finals since, Leeds' only win came in 1999 when they hammered London Broncos 52-16.

They have now lost to Wigan twice (in 1994 and 1995), Bradford twice (in 2000 at Murrayfield and again at Cardiff in 2003), Hull (also at Cardiff, in 2005) and now Warrington.

Sinfield, who has played in the last three defeats, was quick to deny that winning the Challenge Cup has now become a bit of a 'Holy Grail' for a side who have claimed the bigger prize of three successive Super League titles, dismissing that as something spun up in the press.

"Hopefully, we'll get back on the horse next year and give it another go," he said. "We've now got a couple of days to digest this before we start thinking about Hull next weekend."

Sinfield's Leeds team-mate Ryan Bailey was also quick to stress the fact that Leeds have another big game coming up next Saturday when they will be looking to avoid defeat at Hull to ensure a top-four finish going into the following week's Super League play-offs.

"We're professionals," Bailey told BBC Sport. "We've got to bounce back.

"We can't have our heads down all week. We've got to kick on from here. It's all about fourth spot next week now."

Leeds coach Brian McClennan had no complaints after his side's defeat.

"Warrington were very, very good. They were very strong and powerful and made a lot of yards in their attack," he told BBC Sport.

"They were winning the collision areas and they defended very strongly too."

The former New Zealand boss added: "At 14-0 we still had the ability to come back.

"In the second half we rallied and we got going there but we got held up on the line a few times - wonderful defence from Warrington.

"As the game went on whenever they got up our end they tended to score, when we got to their end they tended to hold us up.

"You have just got to acknowledge a great performance by Warrington.

"I hope everyone will acknowledge the Leeds Rhinos boys put in a tremendous effort and worked very hard.

"They weren't far off, so I don't think there was any freezing at all.

"Warrington just got red hot there, they can do that."

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