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Leeds 30-20 Crusaders

Leeds (18) 30
Tries: McShane, Pitts, Burrow, Hall, Buderus
Goals: Sinfield 5
Crusaders (10) 20
Tries: Cahill, Hanbury, Kear, Lupton
Goals: Schifcofske

Danny Buderus touches down for Leeds Rhinos

Match highlights - Leeds 30-20 Crusaders

Leeds had to come from behind to beat unfancied Crusaders in a Challenge Cup fourth round thriller at Headingley.

Iestyn Harris's Super League backmarkers looked on for a shock when Hep Cahill and Rhys Hanbury both ran in tries in the first 12 minutes.

But the injury-hit Rhinos bounced back with tries from Paul McShane, Jay Pitts, Rob Burrow and Ryan Hall.

Crusaders, who had Cahill sent off, scored again through Elliot Kear and Peter Lupton, but Leeds held on.

And a late Danny Buderus try sealed victory for the 11-times Challenge Cup winners.

Victory came at a cost to Leeds, with fresh injuries to Chris Clarkson, Brent Webb and Danny McGuire, just three games back from a knee reconstruction which forced him to miss the opening three months of the season.

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That came on top of Jamie Jones-Buchanan being out with a minor hamstring strain and fellow prop Ryan Bailey missing the game for personal reasons.

But Brian McDermott's side were pleased just to be in the hat after truly being given a game.

Crusaders coach Harris was the last Leeds captain to lift the Challenge Cup back in 1999. But everything seemed to be going his way early on as Leeds made a nightmare start.

Inside the first 15 minutes, the home side found themselves two tries down and two key players down after the loss of Webb (dead leg) and McGuire (quad muscle).

Webb suffered a serious dead leg in a tackle after just two minutes, while stand-off McGuire, who went on to replace him, hobbled off 11 minutes later.

Second rower Clarkson was to follow with a suspected broken ankle nine minutes into the second half.


Rhinos pleased with battling win over Crusaders

But, having shipped those early tries to Cahill and Hanbury, the Rhinos roared back.

Pitts made the break that earned McShane the chance to go over before then going in himself, skipper Kevin Sinfield kicking both goals to earn a 12-0 lead.

Then, barely 60 seconds after Pitts' stunning tackle had denied Kear at one end, Leeds rocked Crusaders by running in a third try at the other end.

A magnificent solo effort from Burrow saw the Leeds scrum-half go in at the left corner, Sinfield again adding the extras.

Having gone in 18-10 up, when Leeds scored within two minutes of the restart through winger Ryan Hall, it looked like the game was up for Crusaders.

But young Welshman Kear, included in his squad for the first time this season after returning from a loan spell with Hunslet, then made up for his earlier near miss when he went in at the left corner.

And, despite the clumsy Cahill perhaps harshly getting his marching orders for a late attempted fly hack as Burrow picked up, Lupton's try narrowed the gap to 24-20 with 11 minutes left.

But, within three minutes, Leeds gave themselves a two-score cushion again when Buderus sealed their place in the fifth round.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott:

"We're talking weeks with Danny McGuire. I don't know what's going through his head at the moment. He's been in a dark place for months. Let's hope it's just a couple of weeks but he said he felt a pop and that usually means a tear.

"There was a point when we weren't sure who to play where. But, defensively, Danny Buderus was outstanding for us. He was all over the field and came up one or two try-savers that would have changed the face of the game.

"I asked him where he was playing towards the back end and he said he thinks he's made a position up. He called it rover. I just kept seeing his body fall in front of their surges near our tryline.

"I also thought Jay Pitts was outstanding. He came up with one of those try-savers that you think is impossible to do."

Crusaders coach Iestyn Harris told BBC Sport:

"Three or four key decisions didn't go our way. And I thought the sending off was pretty harsh. I thought he needed to take his time over the decision. Did he intend to kick the player or the ball. I think he meant to kick the ball.

Iestyn Harris blames referee for Crusaders' loss

"You expect your players to show composure and I think it's important the referee is composed as well. And I thought he rushed several decisions.

"If we had got a couple of those calls, the result could have been different.

"Leeds put in a good backs-to-the-wall effort but we still showed grit and determination. And, if we show that attitude and willingness to work for each other in the second half of the season, we'll win more than we lose and we'll start to climb the table.

"Elliot Kear had a chance to show what he can do live on BBC and showed he deserves to be picked next week."

Leeds: Webb; Smith, Delaney, Senior, Hall; Sinfield, Burrow; Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Pitts, Clarkson, Ablett.

Replacements: McGuire, Burgess, Kirke, McShane.

Crusaders: Schifcofske; Reardon, Mellars, Thomas, Kear; Witt, Hanbury; O'Hara, White, Moore, Cahill, Winternstein, Lupton.

Replacements: Bryant, Flower, Dudson, Sammut.

Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens).

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see also
Bulls draw Wigan in fifth round
08 May 11 |  Rugby League
Castleford 6-48 Leeds
29 Apr 11 |  Rugby League
Crusaders 16-48 Wigan
01 May 11 |  Rugby League
Leeds 34-16 Crusaders
25 Apr 11 |  Rugby League
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby League commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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