Play got underway on the Haringey home ground with West London using their powerful forwards to drive into Rhino territory early. Staunch defence from the Rhinos and West London errors allowed the Rhinos to fight back and keep their line intact during this first period of the match, though some confusion in the Rhinos lineout meant West London had the bulk of the possession in the first 20.
The Rhinos settled into their natural game after this early period and worked play into the West London half. After some solid phases from the forwards, the ball came out to the backs with centre Dan Thomas beating his man and the fullback to score next to the posts. Fly half Dan Rycroft adding the extras.
West London immediately fought back and it was only through a great defensive effort from the Rhinos front 5 on their own try line that West London were kept out. The Rhinos did not escape completely though with a penalty awarded to West London adjacent to the posts which their fly half kicked to narrow the scoreline, Rhinos 7, WL 3.
From the next kickoff however the rest of the half was all Rhinos. A Scrum 30 out from the West London line was sent quickly through the backs with winger Jock McGregor exploiting an overlap to score in the corner, Rycroft again converting. Rhinos 14, WL 3
After the restart the Rhinos Pack marched play down into West London territory, with the West London defence scrambling, fullback Hugo Murray was able to step past the opposition centres to extend the Rhinos lead, Rycroft conversion. Rhinos 21, WL 3
With only a couple of minutes left in the half the Rhinos were able to snag their fourth try. After an attacking run from the Rhinos backs, Flanker Ben Kelly was able to loop out to the right wing and cross the white wash. Half Time Rhinos 26, West London 3.
West London came out from half time with a re-energised forward pack repeatedly attacking the fringes of the ruck. They were eventually rewarded when the Rhinos committed too many to a ruck with the West London backs able to put the ball through hands for their inside center to score. Converted, Rhinos 26, WL 10.
The fightback was short lived with Kelly crashing through defenders for his second try, Captain and scrum half Owain Luckwell carrying 2 defenders with him over the line (Murray converted), and McGregor benefiting from another overlap for his second to extend the Rhinos lead and all but seal the game. Rhinos 43, WL 10.
With the Rhinos forwards dominating the scrums and possession, the final try of the day gave McGregor his hat trick, having received the ball out wide he beat the opposite winger and another covering back before stepping the fullback to run in under the posts. Murray again converting. Full Time Rhinos 50, West London 10
McGregor was named man of the match and Coach Sweetlove had this to say after the game; “After a very poor opening 20 minutes trying to force the play, we went back to our game plan and build phases and pressure. Our defence was monumental at times and we managed to keep a very good side out for most of the game conceding only one try. Our attacking play was breathtaking at times and thoroughly deserved the win. Very proud of my team’s efforts today.”
Updated 12:35 - 6 Mar 2017 by Jock McGregor