Rugby League

Leeds Rhinos rampant with Tom Briscoe hat-trick

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Tom Briscoe marked his return to the Leeds side with a hat-trick as the Rhinos secured top spot in Super League ahead of the Super 8s next month with a 36-22 victory over Catalans Dragons.

Briscoe has been out of action since March after requiring shoulder surgery, but he continued his impressive early-season form by scoring three tries to take his tally to seven in just six games this season as Catalans' miserable away form continued.

Their eighth-placed finish means they will face four away games in the Super 8s - against the likes of Wigan and Huddersfield - and with just one win on the road so far in 2015, their hopes of making the Grand Final look bleak after another indifferent performance away from Perpignan.


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Briscoe scored his first try of the afternoon after only four minutes, following some great work from Kallum Watkins on the short side.

Catalans were plagued with handling errors inside the opening quarter - with four in the first 10 minutes alone - but when they managed to hold onto the ball they instantly became dangerous.

Two tries in four minutes turned the game on its head; after Scott Dureau's pinpoint kick found centre Tony Gigot to level it up at 6-6, the Dragons took the lead when full-back Morgan Escare collected a pass from Dureau to put the visitors in front.

Leeds were guilty of committing a series of handling errors too as the half wore on, but they managed to regroup and post two tries to secure a half-time lead. A fine sweeping move to the right sent Briscoe in for his second, before a short pass from Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield sent Mitch Garbutt in for his first ever try at senior level.

The Rhinos led 16-10 at the interval, and that became 18-10 five minutes into the second half when Sinfield opted to go for goal following a spate of Catalans penalties. However, the Dragons responded well and after a break from Escare handed them the field position, they kept their cool and allowed Dureau to cross for a marvellous solo try to reduce the deficit to just two points.

Another penalty from Sinfield pushed the lead back out to four, before the Rhinos took control of the game with three tries in five blistering second-half minutes.

First, a Watkins break was finished well by the England international to extend the advantage, before further scores from Brett Delaney and Briscoe's hat-trick try sealed the result for the league leaders.

Catalans would register a consolation try late on through Gigot after great work from both Elliott Whitehead and Krisnan Inu, but that was as good as it got for the visitors - who finished just a solitary point inside the top eight after the first 23 rounds of the season.

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Super League
Kevin Sinfield
Rugby League
Leeds Rhinos

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