Saints had to work hard to see off a depleted Leeds Rhinos who were reduced to 12 men early in the second half, as Kristian Woolf's came away 26-18 victors, booking our place in the Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter Finals in the process.
🔴⚪ 𝙎𝘼𝙄𝙉𝙏𝙎 𝙏𝙀𝘼𝙈 𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎! 🔴⚪
Follow all the build-up in our match centre! 👇#COYS
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) April 10, 2021
Saints got off to the perfect start, scoring the first try of the game after three minutes. The men in red and white worked the ball out wide, and with the extra man over, Kevin Naiqama played a no look pass to Tommy Makinson who turned his man and forced his way over the line. Makinson added the conversion to make it 6-0.
Leeds, missing a number of first teamers, got themselves back into the game in the 10th minute through Mikolaj Oledzki, who drove on the last and powered his way over the Saints defence. Rhyse Martin added the extras to bring the scores level.
After withstanding some sustained pressure, Saints regained a narrow lead as Makinson kicked a penalty from distance after a high tackle on James Bentley, making it 8-6 after 31 minutes.
The first half was a good defensive battle between both sides, combined with plenty of attacking errors, but Saints held on to go into half time narrowly ahead.
Saints came out in the second half well and after Theo Fages was clattered high after he’d kicked over the top. Makinson kicked the penalty and Zane Tetevano was sent off for the challenge, giving Saints a 10-6 lead with the extra man after 45 minutes.
Saints stretched the Rhinos again three minutes later with big Agnatious Paasi causing damage in the forwards before a lovely offload from Jack Welsby sent Regan Grace could in the corner unchallenged. Makinson just missed his kick wide, meaning the score was 14-6.
Saints continued to pile on the pressure, and James Roby thought he got his first of the season after 58 minutes, but he was adjudged to have knocked on when grounding the ball.
Grace got his second of the match in the 61st minute after a brilliant cut-out pass from Jonny Lomax and Grace went over unchallenged again. Makinson converted well to make it 20-6 with less than 20 minutes to go.
Brad Dwyer got one back for Leeds with a fast break from dummie half and Rhyse Martin added the extras to make it 20-12 after 66 minutes.
Dwyer sent Saints fans nerves jangling as he went over again in the 71st minute in the same fashion as his previous try. Martin added the extras to make it 20-18 with eight minutes to go.
But Saints made sure of the result in the last minute of the game through Makinson who finished acrobatically after Naiqama offloaded. Makinson converted his own try with a wonderful kick, to make it 26-18 on the hooter and sent Saints through to the next round.
Saints 13: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Jack Welsby, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joel Thompson, James Bentley, Sione Mata’utia.
Interchanges: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Lewis Dodd.
Tries: Makinson (3, 79), Grace (48, 61)
Conversions: Makinson (3)
Penalties: Makinson (31, 45)
Leeds 13: Jack Broadbent, Tom Briscoe, Alex Mellor, Alex Sutcliffe, Luke Briscoe, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith, Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, Sam Walters, James Donaldson, Zane Tetevano.
Interchanges: Brad Dwyer, Jarrod O’Connor, King Vuniyayawa, Morgan Gannon.
Tries: Oledzki (10), Dwyer (65, 71)
Conversions: Martin (3)
Half time: 8-6
Full time: 26-18
Referee: Ben Thaler