Cruicial bonus point win away
North meets West
The Rhinos travelled to West London intent on building upon last week’s win against Cuffley. Whilst logistical problems resulted in a significantly reduced warm up time, Haringey came out firing from the first whistle to pin the home team back inside their 22 and show their attacking intent early on. With strong running across the park, especially from makeshift centre Charlie Rigg, West London were stunned by an early Haringey try when second row Raimond Kripa powered over within the opening minutes to score. Whilst Captain Owain Luckwell missed the conversion, the Rhinos were hungry for more points.
Immediately after the kick off, the Rhinos picked up where they left off, displaying silky hands and great running lines to pin West London back in their own half. With the scrum dominating as it did last week and the lineout starting to find form once more it did not take long for the Rhinos to add to their lead. Versatile Captain Luckwell, this week playing at 10 following his great performance in the back row last week, cut a beautiful line to break through the West London defence and score the Rhino’s second try. Once again, there was no luck with the conversion but the Rhinos were firmly on top.
After this frantic start, the home team began to re-assert themselves, slowing the game down considerably and trying to find a way to halt the rampant Rhinos attack. Fortunately for them, the referee started to penalise the visitors ruthlessly at the breakdown, stopping them from retaining possession and giving West London vital territory. Regardless, they could not find a way through the stoic Haringey defence. Eventually, the pressure told and with influential flanker Ben Kelly given 10 minutes in the sin-bin for another ruck infringement, the home team opted for a lineout and were able to rumble over for a score, which their fly half converted from a tight angle, giving them a much needed score. At half time, the Rhinos led 10-7.
With the home support rallying them up, West London came out firing in the second half. The Rhinos, perhaps still reeling from the late try, defended admirably for several waves, before West London broke through some tired tackles to score in the corner, which was once more converted. With their tails up, the Rhinos knew they were in danger of letting the match slip away from them. However, the rallying call went up from Luckwell and with the visitors back up to 15 men, they were able to find their form.
The Rhinos were able to increase the tempo of the match, with scrum half Dan Cudlipp starting to dominate the breakdown. Impressive ball carrying from players such as Rigg, Kripa and Number 8 Ben Watkins pinned West London back into their half. When they were eventually penalised, Luckwell opted for the 3 points which was converted to bring the Rhinos back to within a few points. Disappointingly, errors meant that the Rhinos were unable to build upon this and more tired defence allowed West London to build upon their lead, scoring a try in the corner which was unconverted.
The visitors, however, were not finished, and electric counter attacking once more put the home team under pressure. With the scrum and lineout still performing admirably, with the front row of Dan Quinn, Owen McKenna and Liam Buckley outperforming their opposite numbers, the Haringey backs were given plenty of possession, with Jock McGregor eventually scoring in the corner.
With the minutes running down, the Rhinos were still behind, yet once more found themselves able to pick up significant ground when running against the tired Home defence. Once again, Owain Luckwell managed to find a gap and score in the corner to give the Rhinos a well-deserved lead. What followed was 6 minutes of breathless rugby as Haringey defended their slender lead. As the final whistle blew, the Rhinos players celebrated a crucial bonus point away win against a tough West London opposition. Man of the Match was Ben Watkins for his strong attacking running, whilst Jock McGregor was given the less envious award of the day following his mishap with the kit. The 1st team have a few weeks off to recover before continuing their charge up the league table.