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Leeds Rhinos 70 - Wigan Warriors 0
Wigan?s fortunes hit an all-time low as champions Leeds condemned them to the heaviest defeat of their glorious history following a 70-0 thrashing.
The Warriors, who used to hand out such hammerings on a regular basis in their domination of the late Eighties and early Nineties, conceded 13 tries in a calamitous display which eclipsed their previous worst defeat, a 58-3 reversal on the same ground in 1972.
Fresh from a 70-point thrashing of Wakefield, Leeds turned the heat up on their beleaguered visitors in sweltering conditions in front of an 18,177 crowd at sun-kissed Headingley.
The stunning result lifts the Rhinos three points clear of St Helens at the top of the engage Super League and leaves Wigan entrenched in the bottom half of the table, just four points above the relegation zone, after a fifth defeat in six matches.
New Wigan coach Ian Millward, whose St Helens team also lost 70-0 at Headingley last July, has just a week to pick his side up for their Powergen Challenge Cup quarter-final at arch rivals St Helens and that will be no easy task.
Bereft of ideas in attack, the Warriors lost touch with the leaders by half-time, when they trailed 24-0 and collapsed completely in the second half, in which they conceded nine tries, many of them long-range efforts as Leeds went through the gears.
The Rhinos, who gained their biggest-ever away win over the Warriors in April, were in no mood to show sympathy to their blighted visitors, who were shorn of six regulars through injury and had teenagers James Coyle and Dave Allen making their first Super League starts.
Captain Terry Newton, the former Leeds hooker, added to Wigan?s woes when he went off after only eight minutes clutching his back and, when he returned 12 minutes later, he found his side trailing 12-0 and on their way to another crushing defeat.
It took Leeds 15 minutes to open their account but there was no surprise over the architect, with in-form skipper Kevin Sinfield creating the opening with a pass out of a two-man tackle to second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who gave scrum-half Rob Burrow a clear run to the line for his 22nd try of the season.
Centre Chev Walker added a second try four minutes later, taking advantage of some sloppy defensive work from the visitors, and hooker Andrew Dunemann, the only Leeds regular without a try so far this season, finally opened his account on 25 minutes, finishing off some smart work by Ali Lauitiiti and Keith Senior.
Wigan managed to stem the onslaught and almost scored themselves when Dennis Moran reacted first to Newton?s kick to the line but he narrowly failed to make contact with the ball.
The Rhinos then provided an example of clinical finishing, with substitute prop Barrie McDermott taking Gareth Ellis? pass close to the line to wind up a trademark flowing move.
It was all one-way traffic in the second half, with winger Mark Calderwood profiting from a Wigan error to grab his 21st try of the season and Lauitiiti producing some magic handling to create scores for Danny McGuire and Senior.
As Leeds piled on the agony, Walker and McDermott both grabbed their second tries and Sinfield, the League?s top points-scorer, took his goal tally to eight from nine attempts before taking a well-earned rest.
Burrow took over the goalkicking but was able to add just one conversion as Leeds ran in further tries through Calderwood, McGuire, man of the match Lauitiiti and Burrow himself to leave Wigan desperate for the final whistle.
Leeds: Mathers, Calderwood, Walker, Senior, Bai, Sinfield, Burrow, Bailey, Dunemann, Ward, McKenna, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis. Replacements: Lauitiiti, Poching, McGuire, McDermott.
Wigan: Brown, Carney, Aspinwall, Botham, Melling, Moran, Coyle, Guisset, Newton, Sculthorpe, Hansen, Tickle, Allen. Replacements: Seu Seu, Godwin, Wild, Tomkins.
Leeds: 70. Tries: Burrow 2, Walker 2, Dunemann, McDermott 2, Calderwood 2, McGuire 2, Senior, Lauitiiti. Goals: Sinfield 8, Burrow.
Referee: Ian Smith (Oldham)