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Super League side forced to play away as pitch “ripped up”

Last night was a sensational win for the Leigh Leopards against Hull KR as they jumped to second in the table.

They now sit above Warrington Wolves in the top two who previously held the position.

Wigan Warriors and Super League and World Champions now sit beneath them in the table as well on points difference.

It was a great night for the Leopards.

Mikey Lewis got the game underway with the kick-off, one that Josh Charnley smartly caught whilst he had his foot in touch thus forcing the kick to be classed as out on the full. From Ben Reynolds kick to touch to restart play he failed to find touch with Ryan Hall’s athletic attempt keeping the ball in. A clumsy start for both kickers.

When Hull KR finished their first complete set it was a smart kick from Jez Litten that unfortunately rolled too far in behind. When collecting the ball the chasing Mikey Lewis couldn’t stop himself in the rainy conditions and ended up slide tackling Gareth O’Brien which resulted in him seeing yellow, summing up a frantic start.

Tom Briscoe famously scored five tries in the Challenge Cup Final against Hull KR and he was back to haunt them tonight scoring in the corner after just nine minutes, making it his seventh try in six games.

Jon Wilkin had previewed the necessity for ruck speed in a game in such wet weather conditions and Edwin Ipape had clearly listened. The hooker from PNG darted from dummy-half inside his own half piercing the Rovers line with a pass to Lachlan Lam who then played the hooker in with even Ryan Hall’s tackle unable to stop the sliding Ipape from grounding the ball to make it 10-0 inside 12 minutes.

Just five minutes after Ipape’s score it was the turn of Ed Chamberlain who ran an elite line that Lachlan Lam found allowing him to run through from ten yards out. Slick play from Leigh but all too soft defensively from the Robins.

After a spell of Rover’s possession Leigh bounced back and completed a set with a smart kick to Fouad Yaha who claimed well. Even better though was the tackle from Ricky Leutele who nailed the Frenchman and forced the ball out as well, which was picked up and grounded by a Leigh man, but referee Marcus Griffiths ruled it as a second movement in the tackle in a stroke of luck for Hull KR.

Who else but Josh Charnley? The winger scored his 20th of the Super League season but it all came from a huge error by Rovers full-back Tanguy Zenon. He allowed Ben Reynolds kick to go out of play, seemingly unaware that it was a 40/20, which granted Leigh brilliant territory and the classic right to left shift then played in the veteran winger who scored untouched to take Leigh into the half 22-0 up.

Rovers started the second-half with plenty of intent and forced multiple repeat sets in Leigh’s own 20. They scuppered those chances though and allowed Leigh into it when Tanguy Zenon spilled a kick on his own line, to which pundit Jon Wilkin stated summed up “Hull KR in a nutshell”. Even worse was that from the resulting drop-out Leigh then scored a penalty try with Matt Parcell tackling Ricky Leutele off the ball. That left the score at 28-0 on 50 minutes with Rovers already looking ahead to the derby next week.

It was a tough second-half with the result having being sealed with over half an hour to go but it was still Leigh who continued to add the points and this time it came through former Robin, Robbie Mulhern who received a smart no-look pass from Ben Reynolds.

It was in many way the perfect good bye for the Leopards who won’t be playing at that ground for some time.

Their next home game is not until the 19th August due to the fact their pitch is set to be “ripped up” in the words of Sky Sports’ Stuart Pyke.

This is so a new one can be laid.

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