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Sky Sports pundits slam Leeds Rhinos tactics under Rohan Smith

Leeds Rhinos players and heach coach Rohan Smith

Leeds Rhinos suffered another damaging defeat in Perpignan, losing 26-0 to Catalans Dragons.

It’s the Rhinos fifth defeat in 11 Super League games and leaves them outside the top six ahead of a tricky away fixture against St Helens.

It was a poor performance from Leeds in the South of France, with errors and poor discipline costing them field position and preventing them from putting any consistent pressure on the home side.

Despite a depleted squad, with head coach Rohan Smith forced to field several youngsters, it was another worrying display from the Rhinos.

One thing that has come under scrutiny recently is their style, and on Sky Sports after the game pundits Jon Wells and Jon Wilkin were critical of the tactics used by Leeds this season.

Sky Sports pundits criticise Leeds Rhinos

Jon Wilkin was the first to go in on the Rhinos, claiming that he would not be able to play in the current Leeds team under Smith because they are ‘always on the back foot’.

“Leeds comes with historical pressure and they’ve not delivered on that for quite some time,” said Wilkin. “I want to be positive and I’ll celebrate positivity and I’ll run into a huddle and high-five after you’ve conceded a try and I’ll do all of that modern nonsense.

“But, in the year I came through, if we dished up a performance like that then someone like Paul Sculthorpe would tear into me. Would my teammates accept that?

“They’ve got to be strong enough to deal with injuries. It can’t be a surprise that Jack Sinfield is in the team.

“The Leeds spine is a red herring though, I’m telling you now, because they perpetually get back foot marched down the field and are happy to do so. Until they address that, they’re going to lose games.

“I couldn’t play in a team that was on the back foot all the time and then expect to come up with some sort of fluency with the ball when you’re absolutely gassed, when you’re out on your feet, when you’ve had no momentum, and when you’ve had no absolute impact in the game. It’s an incredibly tough way to play.”

Can Leeds finish in the top six?

Leeds Rhinos players clap

Credit: Imago Images

Despite the Rhinos underwhelming performances this season, they are still within touching distance of the playoff places and only four points off top-of-the-table Wigan Warriors.

Despite that, both Wells and Wilkin predict the table to take shape in the coming weeks and Leeds to end up in a fight for the final spot in the top six.

“I think there’s going to be an almighty fight for the sixth and final playoff spot and I think it’s going to be form and it’s going to be points difference at the right time,” said Wells.

He continued: “I see Leeds being among a clutch of teams that could potentially nick sixth and that’s where we’re at, that’s my honest opinion.”

Wilkin added: “Leeds are theoretically better, but practically worse than they were last season. It’s a tough couple of games for them to come off, facing Hull FC and London, and go to the South of France.

“But I don’t think it excuses the errors and the sort of passive sloppy defence that they’ve shown repeatedly since Rohan Smith has been in charge. That’s not new, is it?”

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