The last time Leeds defied the odds against St Helens on April Fool’s Day

Today Leeds are against the odds as they welcome Champions St Helens to Headingley on April Fool’s Day.

Expected to be the butt of the joke tonight after just one win in their opening seven league and cup games, no one is giving the Rhinos a chance as their new signings struggle to settle and their attack fails to click.

Curiously, Leeds have made the third most metres so far in the league behind second place Saints and first place Huddersfield but they boast the worst attack with only 16 tries to their name in the league.

With all this, a search for a new coach underway and the Champions in town boosted by the return of Alex Walmsley and with James Roby set for his 500th appearance, there seems no possibility of a Leeds win.

Even in terms of the law of averages, it’s unlikely. Saints rarely lose two league games in a row and a defeat tonight would condemn them to exactly that and at the expense of two of the bottom three no less.

However, a Leeds win wouldn’t be the first time they’ve made the Saints the fool on April 1st defying the odds to do so.

On this day in 1990, Leeds were playing St Helens at Headingley and David Cruickshank was shown a red card inside the first few minutes.

Desperate for a win as they battled with Wigan at the top for the title, a first title since 1972, Leeds needed a win following defeats to Warrington and Wakefield. However, things got off to the worst possible start when key player Cruickshank was sent off leaving the Leeds spine missing an integral cog. Defeat seemed assured but the Loiners would then do the unthinkable against their rivals.

Leeds legend Garry Schofield was forced to rein in his game and act as organiser for the rest of the game bossing the attack whilst a number of ball playing forwards like David Heron enabled an ambitious Leeds offence to blow the Saints to pieces with one of the best attacking performances you’re ever going to see,

Phil Ford scored a superb hat-trick as Leeds scored 34 unanswered points in the second 40 to humble the Saints with a 50-14 win in a shocking result from the 12 men of Leeds.

Wigan’s defeats to Widnes and Castleford coupled with this gave Leeds a whiff of glory only for a luckless defeat to the Cherry and Whites at Central Park all but ended their title crusade.

However, the win over St Helens that day still lives long in the memory for those at Headingley even if it didn’t lead to the title.

You can even watch the entire game on Leeds’ YouTube channel to prepare for tonight’s match in which Leeds will need a similarly amazing performance to pick up an unlikely win over the all-conquering St Helens.

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