Challenge Cup: The Rhinos’ run to the final
In preparation for this weekend’s Challenge Cup final, we’re taking a look at both Leeds and Castleford’s incredible runs to the showpiece Wembley event, with the Rhinos first up in the spotlight.
Leeds have had it far from easy on their run to Wembley, facing high quality opposition in each and every round they’ve played in this year’s cup. So without further ado, here’s Leeds Rhinos and their fascinating run to the final of this year’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup.
Round 4: Wakefield 6-60 Leeds
Leeds were handed a tricky West Yorkshire derby in their first game of the cup in 2014, as they were drawn away at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. However, despite the tie looking tough on paper, the Rhinos made light work of their local rivals, running in a thumping 11 tries as they cruised to a 60-6 win against the Wildcats. Ryan Hall, Carl Ablett and Rob Burrow all grabbed a brace as the Rhinos eased into Round Five – where more tricky opposition would lie in wait.
Round 5: Leeds 32-12 St Helens
Arguably the tie of the 5th round featured the Rhinos, as they were paired with long-time enemies St Helens, with a quarter-final spot at stake for the victors.
And once again it was easy stuff for Leeds, who breezed into the quarters with a comfortable 32-12 win against the Saints.
Quarter-Final: Leeds 25-12 Leigh
This wasn’t perhaps the tie of the round when the draw was made, as Championship pacesetters Leigh were the next to lie in wait for Leeds. However, the TV cameras were treat to an incredible contest between two sides from different divisions, as the Centurions pushed Leeds all the way in a terrific game. The scores were actually level up until the 73rd minute, as Leigh gave the Rhinos a real scare on their own turf. However, late scores from Robbie Ward and Zak Hardaker eventually squeezed Leeds into the last four.
Semi-Final: Leeds 24-16 Warrington
On a sun-drenched afternoon in St Helens, Leeds saw off recent Challenge Cup enemy Warrington to progress to yet another major cup final. Warrington had beaten Leeds in two finals across the last three years prior to this game, but they were ultimately no match for the Rhinos in 2014 – who set up that mouthwatering final with Cas by squeezing through 24-16. It was the first period where all the damage was done; as the Rhinos led 14-0 at the break thanks to a brace from Ryan Hall. Is 2014 finally going to be the year of the Rhino at long, long last?