x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Win not good enough for Leeds Rhinos coach

Brian McClennan, the Leeds' coach, described his side's performance yesterday as "disjointed" despite sealing a top-four Super League place.

Brian McClennan, the Leeds' coach, described his side's performance yesterday as "disjointed" despite sealing a top-four Super League place. The Rhinos ran in 27 points in the last 27 minutes to beat lowly Salford 31-22. Ryan Hall bagged a brace of tries for Leeds but McClennan said: "It was very hard work. Salford had the better of us, particularly in the second quarter. They were all over us and were dominant.

"Fortunately we were able to get 13 points ahead with five minutes to go. "We defended better in the third quarter or else we may have slipped up and lost." "It was a terrific effort but we were a bit disjointed. We need to work together and get more harmony because we have some big games coming up. McClennan revealed Jamie Peacock and Keith Senior will be back for Friday's home game against table-toppers Wigan.

Brian McDermott, the Harlequins coach, praised former club Huddersfield for the way they snuffed out the threat from his young homegrown team to edge closer to the Super League play-offs with a convincing 40-4 win. McDermott, who was assistant to former Giants coach Tony Smith, admitted his side were second best on the day, but said the London club had their eyes more firmly fixed on the future. Huddersfield were only 8-4 up at the break, but they ran in six tries in the second half against a Quins side featuring only one overseas player, Luke Dorn, for the third consecutive week.

McDermott said: "I'm immensely proud of our young players. People will look at the scoreline and think we got beaten pretty badly. But I don't think the players did a lot wrong." Crusaders kept their play-off hopes alive and delighted Brian Noble, the head coach, with a 30-24 triumph over Castleford. The Welshmen stand just two points behind eighth-placed Castleford in the play-off race. Noble beamed: "We have got five games to go so our destiny is in our own hands. We are still throwing punches, which is really pleasing."

Leon Pryce produced a masterclass to guide St Helens to a nine-try, 50-6 victory over Wakefield that enabled them to close the gap on second-placed Warrington to just two points ahead of next week's derby. The former England stand-off scored his side's first try and laid on three of the next four In Australia, John Lang, the South Sydney coach, hailed the "special talent" of his half-back Chris Sandow after the energetic No 7 inspired the Rabbitohs to a 38-28 NRL victory over the Warriors at ANZ Stadium yesterday.

Sandow's enthusiasm, skill and pin-point goal-kicking were the catalyst for the Bunnies bridging a 10-point half-time deficit as the home side scored five second-half tries to get their finals hopes back on track. A 22-point virtuoso performance from Jamie Lyon helped Manly beat Wests Tigers 38-20 in a fiery encounter at Bluetongue Stadium yesterday. The Sea Eagles scored six tries to four to move up to fourth, one spot behind the Tigers.

* Agencies