Rhinos trample Sea Eagles

Leeds Rhinos defeated Manly Sea Eagles at Headingley to become the first British team since 2008 to win a rugby league World Club Challenge. Yorkshire vanquished New South Wales with a show of defiant defence.

Ryan Hall had given Rhinos a substantial lead with 2 impressive tries, but it required resolute defence in the second half to repel a wave of Manly attacks, with Rhinos inspired by the leadership of the England captain Jamie Peacock. The eventual 26-12 margin flattered Rhinos, with a late Ben Jones-Bishop try securing the victory, after Manly’s attempted comeback had foundered.

A couple of contentious decisions went Rhinos’ way. Kallum Watkins’s first-half try might have been ruled out for a forward pass. In the second half, Steve Matai appeared to have scored a try for Manly, before the video referee ruled it out, ruling that Watkins had been impeded.

"We did that the tough way, didn't we?" the Rhinos coach Brian McDermott admitted at the end. "There was a period in the second half where I thought we'd gone. Sometimes it looked as scruffy as anything but it was brave and courageous and all those sorts of words."

The captain Kevin Sinfield echoed the coach, and dedicated the win to the Leeds supporters. "To have the chance to play in a final here is special – it might never happen again," he said. "I hope we've sent them home happy."

They certainly did. Rhinos fans are all too aware that the victory matches local rivals Bradford Bulls' record of 3 World Club Challenge titles.

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