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Saints Leave It Too Late
Friday 1st March, 2013 - 22:45

SAINTS were handed their second loss of the season as a clinical Leeds won 20-12 at Langtree Park.

The home side dominated the Rhinos for long periods but ultimately couldn't find the killer pass to put their opponents away.

Saints were 8-4 down at half time in a tight match with defences on top.

Jonny Lomax put his side ahead with a coolly taken score before Ryan Hall scorched down the wing to reply.

Kevin Sinfield's two penalties making the difference.

In the second half, Kylie Leuluai broke the deadlock before Hall notched up his second.

The excellent Mark Percival lay on a brace for Francis Meli as Saints threatened a comeback but the clock run out.

The young centre was making his debut for the Club at the age of 18 whilst Anthony Walker replaced Alex Walmsley at kick off.

Tony Puletua moved to loose forward with Josh Jones on the bench.

Leeds got the best possible start when they were given two penalties on the bounce and Kevin Sinfield slotted over a two-pointer.

Saints nearly replied when James Roby and Tony Puletua linked in good field position but the ball was lost.

Seconds later though they were in front. The ball was kept alive and on an angle Lomax stepped his way to the line and showed great strength.

Three would be tacklers undone by the full back's great footwork.

Both sides were guilty of handling errors as the game entered its quarter way point and it was a piece of ill-discipline from Saints that allowed Sinfield to equalise.

The Rhinos then forged ahead. Saints were outdone on the right hand side and Hall got on the outside of the defence to put them in front.

Saints had some pressure on Leeds' line heading into the final stages but couldn't find a way past a resolute defence.

Likewise, the Rhinos knocked on the door a couple of times but found the home side in no mood to give up more points.

Saints went in at the break 8-4 down and could have been further behind within seconds of the second half beginning - but Ian Kirke dropped the ball over the line with a four-pointer begging.

Sia Soliola and Puletua lit the fuse with a fantastic run and flipped pass respectively, but handling let Saints down again in good field possession.

Percival went on an outstanding run with 25 minutes left but it was Leeds that popped up with the next and crucial score.

The video referee was called for to adjudge on a potential Kylie Leuluai try set up by clever hands from Ryan Hall.

And although it looked like the forward knocked on the video ref gave the score.

Ryan Hall then took Joel Moon's pass almost immediately to make it 20-4.

Saints responded when Puletua and Lomax set Percival free to feed Meli.

And moments later Percival cut back inside to send the winger in for his second.

Crucially the conversion was missed though and despite Saints late rally, it too little too late.

Match Summary:

Saints:
Tries: Lomax, Meli (2)
Goals: Wheeler (0 from 1), Turner (0 from 2)

Leeds:
Tries: Hall (2), Leuluai
Goals: Sinfield (4 from 5)

Penalties:
Saints: 4
Leeds: 5

HT: 4-8
FT: 12-20

REF: Phil Bentham

ATT: 12228

Teams:

Saints:

7. Jonny Lomax; 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Jordan Turner, 30. Mark Percival, 5. Francis Meli; 17. Gary Wheeler, 12. Jon Wilkin; 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 9. James Roby, 27: Walker, 4. Sia Soliola, 13. Willie Manu, 11. Tony Puletua.
Subs: 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16. Paul Clough, 19. Josh Jones, 24. Joe Greenwood.

Leeds:

3. Kallum Watkins; 25. Joe Vickery, 12. Carl Ablett, 4. Joel Moon, 5. Ryan Hall; 6. Danny McGuire, 13. Kevin Sinfield; 8. Kylie Leuluai, 7. Rob Burrow, 10. Jamie Peacock, 14. Stevie Ward, 15. Brett Delaney, 11. Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
Subs: 9. Paul McShane, 17. Ian Kirke, 18. Chris Clarkson, 21. Richard Moore.