Saints head to Wembley on the back of impressive Rhinos win

Red-hot Saints, missing a host of first team stars, secured another dominant 36-20 victory, this time over a resurgent Leeds Rhinos, with the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley up next.

Regan Grace opened the scoring after excellent handling from Jack Welsby and Mark Percival. Leeds responded with two quick fire tries through Richie Myler and Ash Handley to give the hosts the lead before a late first half try from Kevin Naiqama sent the teams in level at half time.

Saints started the second half brilliantly with Zeb Taia and Regan Grace scoring within five minutes of the restart. Percival extended Saints lead converting a penalty before Naiqama scored two spectacular solo tries to secure his hat-trick. Leeds did find two consolation tries through Handley and Harry Newman late on, but Saints were too strong for the Rhinos.

The home side had the better of the opening stages forcing repeat sets on the Saints line. Leeds thought they had taken the lead through Handley, but a superb tackle from Welsby stopped what looked a certain try for the winger.

It was Saints who scored the opening try of the game after an offload from Taia was picked up by Welsby, he found Percival who put Grace in at the corner. Percival converted brilliantly off the touchline in the absence of Lachlan Coote and Danny Richardson.

The Rhinos came close again with Adam Cuthbertson’s offloads creating space in the Saints line, but the final pass from Konrad Hurrell to Handley went into touch.

Leeds did reply through Myler as Brad Dwyer fed the scrum half and he stepped back inside two Saints defenders and reached for the line to touch down. Rhyse Martin added the extras to level the game.

Leeds were in again, this time Hurrell’s offload found Handley and he crashed his way over in the corner. Martin was unable to add the extras.

Saints responded on their very next set as a knock on from Cuthbertson gave Saints great field position. A flowing move on the right edge finished with Lomax finding Welsby and he fed Naiqama who stepped back inside and forced his way over. Percival was unable to add the extras sending the teams in at the break all square.

Saints came flying out of the traps in the second half as Fages’ high kick was fumbled by Luke Briscoe and Grace was there to touch down with his finger tips before Taia, on his 300th career appearance also grounded the ball to cast any doubt over the try which was given by the video referee.

Saints were in again on the very next set and there was no doubt about who scored this one. Taia’s kick through was collected by Grace and he returned the ball to Taia via an offload and he powered his way over to score a try of his own. Percival adding the two.

Leeds were then penalised on their own line in front of the posts and Saints opted to take the two, Percival extended Saints lead to 14.

Saints were in full flight and were in again through Naiqama as Fages fed the Fiji captain who stepped past two Leeds defenders and showed a change of pace to race clear to score next to the posts.

Naiqama then grabbed his hat-trick after crisp passing from Fages and Lomax found Welsby and he fed the on rushing Naiqama with a short ball. The centre crashed past three Leeds defenders to touch down for his third of the game.

Leeds scored two consolation tries through Handley and Newman late on reducing the deficit to 16, but Saints’ second half performance proved the difference and the Red Vee head to Wembley in red-hot form.

Match Summary

Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Newman, Hurrell, Handley, Lui, Myler, Cuthbertson, Lunt, Seumanufagai, Martin, Ferres, Merrin.

Interchanges: Dwyer, Sutcliffe, Peteru, Donaldson.

Tries: Myler (30), Handley (36,73), Newman ( 76)

Goals: Martin ( 2 from 3)

St.Helens: Welsby, Grace, Costello, Percival, Naiqama, Fages, Lomax, Lees, Smith, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Bentley.

Interchanges: Amor, Ashworth, Batchelor, Eaves.

Tries: Grace (21,43), Naiqama (39,62,65), Taia (45).

Goals: Percival (5 from 6)

Penalties: Percival ( 1 from 1)

Referee: Chris Kendell

HT: 10-10

FT: 20-36

ATT: 12,153

Saints Line up

1 Jack Welsby
21 Matthew Costello
3 Kevin Naiqama
4 Mark Percival
5 Regan Grace
7 Theo Fages
6 Jonny Lomax
10 Matty Lees
19 Aaron Smith
10 Luke Thompson
11 Zeb Taia
12 Dominique Peyroux
12 James Bentley
18 Kyle Amor
17 Jack Ashworth
12 Joe Batchelor
24 Josh Eaves

Leeds Rhinos Line up

1Jack Walker
2Luke Briscoe
3Harry Newman
4Konrad Hurrell
5Ash Handley
6Robert Lui
7Richie Myler
8Adam Cuthbertson
9Shaun Lunt
10Ava Seumanufagai
11Brett Ferres
12Rhyse Martin
13Trent Merrin
14Brad Dwyer
15Nathaniel Peteru
16James Donaldson
17Liam Sutcliffe

Last updated 15 Aug 19 21:37:57

FT: ? Rhinos 20-36 Saints ?⚪

A blistering start to the second half is what won it for Saints after a double from Taia and Naiqama – the latter secured his hat-trick. Handley and Newman with the Leeds tries.

Harry Newman for Leeds Rhinos

Luke Briscoe does well to offload the ball when it looked like he would be forced into touch and Harry Newman touches down. Martin adds the extras.

? Rhinos 20-36 Saints ?⚪


Martin misses the extras as we approach the last five minutes here at Emerald Headingley.

? Rhinos 14-36 Saints ?⚪

Ash Handley for Leeds Rhinos

Leeds do respond through Handley’s second of the game. Hurrell again with the inside ball.

? Rhinos 14-36 Saints ?⚪


Rhinos keep coming forward, but Cuthbertson knocks on as Lomax is now taken off with Wembley in mind and Smith comes back on. 10 minutes to go here in Yorkshire!

? Rhinos 10-36 Saints ?⚪

Mark Percival for Saints

Percival again adds the extras and that is the last piece of action for Naiqama who makes way as Bentley comes back on. Not a bad night’s work for Kevvy!

? Rhinos 10-36 Saints ?⚪

Kevin Naiqama for Saints

We said he is on ? and he’s now grabbed his hat-trick!! Fages again involved as he finds Lomax who feeds Welsby and he feeds Kev who crashes over again!

? Rhinos 10-34 Saints ?⚪

Mark Percival for Saints

Percival kicks the extras from in front of the sticks and the 30 points is up.

? Rhinos 10-30 Saints ?⚪

Kevin Naiqama for Saints

Na Na Na Na Na Na, Naiqamaaaa! Kev is on fire as he shows his pace, latching onto a Fages ball to skip past three Rhinos players to score right in front of the Saints fans!

? Rhinos 10-28 Saints ?⚪

Mark Percival for Saints

Josh Eaves and Joe Batchelor and both on for Smith and Lees, who seemed to be struggling when he walked off. Saints win a penalty right in front of the sticks and Percival makes no mistake.

? Rhinos 10-24 Saints ?⚪

? I think @MarkPercival22 enjoyed that one! ? ?

Mark Percival for Saints

Percival again nails the kick and the home crowd have been silenced here after a rapid Saints start to the second half!

? Rhinos 10-22 Saints ?⚪

Zeb Taia for Saints

There’s no doubt about who scored this try!! Taia’s kick through is collected by Grace and he offloads back to Taia who powers his way over!!! Zebby could be awarded the double!

? Rhinos 10-20 Saints ?⚪

Mark Percival for Saints

There’s a bit of confusion here in the press box as to who actually grounded the ball. The replays suggested Grace’s finger tips before Zeb Taia confirmed the grounding. Percival kicks the extras to extend our lead!

Regan Grace for Saints

Fages’ high kick on the last is fumbled by Luke Briscoe and it is grounded by the finger tips of Grace! The decision was try on the field and the video referee agreed!

? Rhinos 10-14 Saints ?⚪


Bentley has made way for Kyle Amor at the break and it looks like Matty Lees is now at loose forward!

? Rhinos 10-10 Saints ?⚪


Here we go for the second half! Percival kicks us off – COYS! ?⚪

? Rhinos 10-10 Saints ?⚪

HT: ? Rhinos 10-10 Saints ?⚪

Grace put us ahead, but the Rhinos responded through tries from Myler and Handley, before Naiqama hit straight back to send us in level at the break.


Percival’s kick hits the sticks and comes back out so we remain all square heading into half-time!

? Rhinos 10-10 Saints ?⚪

Kevin Naiqama for Saints

And we do hit back through Naiqama!! The ball is played to the right where Saints have the numbers and Welsby’s pass finds the Fijian who powers his way over!

? Rhinos 10-10 Saints ?⚪


Adam Cuthbertson knocks on when playing the ball and Saints have a set of six in Rhinos territory to respond straight away!

? Rhinos 10-6 Saints ?⚪


Fages took a bang on the neck when trying to halt Handley, but after receiving some treatment he is up on his feet which is good news ahead of Wembley next week. Martin fails to add the extras.

? Rhinos 10-6 Saints ?⚪

Ash Handley for Leeds Rhinos

The video referee awards the try for Leeds this time as Hurrell’s offload is this time grounded by Handley in the corner.

? Rhinos 10-6 Saints ?⚪


Saints on the attack, but Theo Fages’ grubber is knocked forward by Percival when trying to grasp the ball to touch down. Leeds now coming forward – it’s end to end!

? Rhinos 6-6 Saints ?⚪


The Rhinos think they are in in the corner again through Handley, but referee Chris Kendall correctly rules Hurrell’s pass to be forward.

? Rhinos 6-6 Saints ?⚪

Rhyse Martin for Leeds Rhinos

Rhyse Martin adds the extras and we are all square as Saints’ Jack Ashworth comes on for Luke Thompson.

? Rhinos 6-6 Saints ?⚪

Richie Myler for Leeds Rhinos

Brad Dwyer finds Richie Myler and he scoots past two Saints defenders and reaches for the line to touch the down to the left of the posts.

? Rhinos 4-6 Saints ?⚪


James Bentley knocks on when playing the ball and Rhinos have the scrum in the Saints half. Time to defend, boys!

? Rhinos 0-6 Saints ?⚪


Again the Rhinos try the offload game as Brett Ferres’ pass out the back door finds Hurrell, but his behind the back pass finds touch and Saints have the ball back.

? Rhinos 0-6 Saints ?⚪

Mark Percival for Saints

Mark Percival, picking up the kicking duties in the absence of Lachlan Coote and Danny Richardson, nails the touchline conversion attempt!

? Rhinos 0-6 Saints ?⚪

Regan Grace for Saints

Taia’s offload is picked up by Welsby and he then offloads himself to Mark Percival who feeds Regan Grace out wide who scores easily in the corner. Get in there!!!

? Rhinos 0-4 Saints ?⚪


The Rhinos are offloading at every opportunity in the tackle and looking dangerous in attack, but the Saints, as we have most of this season, are holding firm!

? Rhinos 0-0 Saints ?⚪


Leeds think they have scored here in the corner as big Konrad Hurrell offloads to Ash Handley out wide, but the video referee says he is short of the line under Welsby’s tackle.

? Rhinos 0-0 Saints ?⚪

? @JZTaia on his 300th career appearance today! ?


A Rhinos high bomb hits Welsby’s hand and runs dead in goal with Leeds awarded another set of six, before Lui is penalised for a forward pass.

? Rhinos 0-0 Saints ?⚪


Saints with an early chance as Jack Welsby, playing at full back, feeds Kev Naiqama on his inside, but the man from Fiji can’t gather the ball and the Rhinos survive.

? Rhinos 0-0 Saints ?⚪


The Rhinos with early pressure on the Saints line, but Zeb Taia, on his 300th career appearance, makes the tackle on Robert Lui and forces the knock on. Congrats, Zebby!

? Rhinos 0-0 Saints ?⚪

We are off and underway here at Emerald Headingley! COYS! ?⚪

? Rhinos 0-0 Saints ?⚪