TRANS-TASMAN PREVIEWS | We've got a look over and made our picks for the opening night of the rep ro...
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Hull FC 6 (Briscoe try; Brough goal) v Harlequins RL 10 (Smith, Leuluai tries; Sykes goal). Att: 8,250.
Harlequins got their first victory of the season by upsetting Hull FC at the KC Stadium in artic conditions.
All the points in this match were scored in the first half. The Quins opened the scoring in the 9th minute through a Thomas Leuluai try who darted over from dummy half, Paul Sykes added the extras. The visitors stretched their lead to 10-0 as Luke Dorn sent Tyrone Smith into the corner.
Hull continued to struggle and were finding it increasingly difficult to get into the game, however with only 8 minutes left in the half they finally got on the scoreboard with a try to Shaun Briscoe, who raced 50 meters to score in the corner. Danny Brough kicked a touchline conversion to leave them trailing at the break by only 4 points.
In the second half Hull tried to get back on level terms, but resolute defence from the Quins prevented the Black and Whites from scoring any more points.
Salford City Reds 28 (Fitzpatrick, Dunemann, Wilshere, Finnigan, Coley tries; Hodgson 4 goals) v Wigan Warriors 10 (Richards, Orr tries; Tickle goal). Att: 5,494.
Wigan?s poor start to the season continued when they were convincingly beaten by a rejuvenated Salford City Reds.
The match had been in doubt all afternoon after heavy snowfall in the Salford area but, once the game got underway the Reds adapted themselves better to the conditions and raced into a 14-4 interval lead with tries from Simon Finnigan and Andy Coley. Wigan?s sole reply was from ex-Wests Tiger Pat Richards.
In the second half Wigan got themselves right back into the game when Danny Orr dived on to a Richards inside kick and with Tickle?s goal there was only 4 points in it.
Eventually Salford extended their lead when PNG star John Wilshere squeezed into the corner. The game was wrapped up by two late tries from Andrew Dunemann and a fine solo 40-metre romp by ex-Warrior David Hodgson, who also kicked four goals.
Warrington Wolves 10(Fa?afili, Wainwright tries; Briers goal) v St Helens 18 (Cunningham, Talau, Gardner; Lyon 3 goals). Att: 13,024.
St Helens kept their 100% record intact with a well-earned victory over near neighbours Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The game was played on a snowbound pitch in sub zero conditions but despite the elements, a huge crowd witnessed an excellent close fought contest. The Saints held a 12-0 interval lead with tries from Great Briton Hooker Keiron Cunningham and ex-Bulldog Willie Talau.
After the restart, Lee Briers once again inspired his team by setting up their first try with an astute kick to the corner for Henry Fa?afili to pluck the ball out of the air and score. Jason Hooper was sin-binned for the Saints when he took out Briers on the last tackle, which resulted in Mike Wainwright scoring a try, cutting Saints? lead to only 2 points.
However, the Saints soon got back into their rhythm and increased their lead when Ade Gardner finished off a sweet passing movement to score in the corner. Jamie Lyon kicked a late penalty goal to seal the game for the league leaders.
Catalans Dragons 18 (Mounis 2, Murphy tries; Frayssinous 3 goals) v Bradford Bulls 50 (Lynch 2, Hape 2, Bai, Smith, Fielden, B.Harris, Langley tries; Deacon 7 goals). Att: 9,373.
Bradford Bulls remained second on the table with a nine try demolition of newcomers Catalans Dragons in Perpignan. The Bulls escaped the artic conditions in Northern England when they comprehensively destroyed a poor Dragons team who are still missing their influential skipper, Kiwi ace Stacey Jones.
The Dragons had no answer to the Bulls? halfback partnership of Iestyn Harris and Paul Deacon, who completely dominated the game from start to finish. The game as a contest was over in the first quarter as the Bulls ran in a 24-0 lead with tries by Shontayne Hape, Stuart Fielden, Andy Lynch and Jamie Langley. Spurred on by a big local crowd, the Dragons got on the score sheet when Greg Mounis got on to the end of a Sean Rudder kick. But their joy was brief has Hape scored his second try to leave the Bulls 30-6 in front at the break.
In the second half, the Bulls continued to out-muscle the hosts and scored 20 more points to give themselves an easy victory. However, a fine 60-metre solo effort from Justin Murphy cheered the home fans up. After their debut win against Wigan, the Catalans now face some challenges ahead as in the next few weeks the other Big Guns of the Engage Super League will arrive in the South of France.
Wakefield Wildcats 16 (Solomona 2, Tadulala; Jeffries 2 goals) v Huddersfield Giants 18 (Thorman, Torrens, Snitch; Thorman 3 goals). Att: 4,110.
The Giants snatched a late victory as they edged out the Wakefield Wildcats at a bitterly cold Belle Vue. In a game when defences were on top, both teams defied the freezing conditions to play some exciting rugby league.
Wakefield lead at half time by 16-8 with a brace of tries from David Solomona and flying Fijian winger Semi Tadulala, with the Giants replying through Thorman who bagged a try and two goals.
After the break, Thorman?s kicking kept the Giants in contention and they reduced the deficit to just two points when Steve Snitch scored a try against his old club. First half hero Solomona was sin-binned which led to the Giants laying siege in the Wildcats half of the field. Wakefield appeared to be holding on for victory when they were stunned by a last grasp try by former Dragon Albert Torrens to seal a dramatic Giants victory.
Leeds Rhinos 66 (Walker 3, Burrow 2, Poching, McGuire, Kirke, Bailey, Mathers, Lauitiiti tries; Sinfield 11 goals) v Castleford Tigers 14 (Mcgoldrick, Haughey tries; Huby 3 goals). Att: 16,660.
Leeds Rhinos got back to winning ways with an 11 try thrashing of Castleford Tigers in front of a capacity crowd at Headingley.
After the postponement of Friday night?s game, due to a frozen and snow bound pitch, Leeds were far to good for a Tiger?s team missing four regular players.
Leeds scored two early tries to lead 12-0 in the match. Ironically, when the Tiger?s were reduced to 12 men after Danny Sculthorpe was sin binned for persistent infringements around the play the ball area, Castleford roared back to get within 4 points thanks to a try from Tommy Haughey and two Craig Huby goals. After Sculthorpe returned to the fray the Rhinos quickly upped the tempo to score five converted tries in the last 12 minutes of the first half. Chev Walker completed his fifth hat-trick of his carer, debutant substitute Ian Kirke scored with his first touch of the ball and Leeds Skipper Kevin Sinfield tagged on the conversations to give his team a 42-8 lead effectively killing the game off at the break.
The second half started with Castleford showing some fighting spirit and they even managed a consolation try through Ryan McGoldrick but Leeds hammered their advantage home with four further tries all converted by Sinfield, giving him a personal tally of 22 points from 11 successful kicks.