Leeds Rhinos gave a better performance than in some of their recent matches, but they went down a 26-22 defeat today against the Catalans Dragons in Perpignan, with winger Fouad Yaha, who returned to the club from rugby union earlier this season, scoring four tries.
The Rhinos took an early 12-point lead with two tries from Ash Handley, the first coming after a break by Richie Myler and the second coming when he intercepted a ball near his own line and ran 90 metres., with Liam Sutcliffe adding both conversions.
The Dragons hit back when winger Fouad Yaha touched down from dummy-half, with Sam Tomkins converting, but Leeds extended their lead to ten points when Konrad Hurrell blasted his way over on 26 minutes for an unconverted try.
But when new signing Sam Kasiano came off the bench the Dragons gained new momentum and Yaha scored his second try in the corner, which Tomkins couldn’t convert.
On 35 minutes Brett Ferres was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle, and shortly afterwards Lucas Albert brought the Dragons level with their third try, which Tomkins converted, for a 16-16 half-time score.
In the second half Handley scored his hat-trick try from a fine pass from Myler, with Sutcliffe unable to convert from the touchline.
The Dragons replied with Yaha’s third try in the left corner and Tomkins’ touchline conversion gave them the lead for the first time.
The Rhinos drew level with a penalty from Sutcliffe with twelve minutes remaining.
But the Dragons were ahead again when Yaha went over for his fourth try in the 73rd minute, and with Tomkins missing the conversion it was now 26-22.
The Rhinos made a big effort to get back into the game, but couldn’t get back on terms, and they are now at the bottom of the league with just one win from eight matches.
A full report and photos from this game will feature in Monday’s League Express.