Just one point seprated the Wigan Warriors in second and the Leeds Rhinos in fourth coming into tonights game at Headingley. The Rhinos would be up to second with a win, but the bookies slightly favoured the visitors. Wigan hadn’t won at Headingley since 2012 but had every intention of putting an end to that losing sequence and maintaining the pressure on St Helens at the top of the table. The Rhinos welcomed back Adam Cuthbertson, Joel Moon, Anthony Mullally, and Brett Delaney to the side who left it late to beat Wakefield Trinity last weekend. Shaun Wane also juggled his side a little, with Ben Flower missing and replaced in the starting line up by Romaine Navarette, after their close encounter with the Catalans Dragons in the previous round. It was end to end for the opening twenty minutes with both seasons slight chances being thwarted by great defensive efforts. Referee Thaler consulted the video referee a couple of times but only to determine the nature of the restart. On twenty-one the Rhinos grabbed the first try immediately after declining a kickable penalty for a high tackle on Stevie Ward. On the first play Richie Myler pulled in the defenders and flung a miss-out pass to Tom Briscoe to go over down the right wing. Kallum Watkins kicked the conversion from the touchline. Wigan upped their game but mistakes cost them a couple of chances close to the Leeds line. Their frustrations manifested themselves in penalties conceeded and which eased the pressure on the home side. Wigan finished the half on the offensive but another Sam Tomkins unforced error led to yet another breakdown and the Rhinos took a 6-0 advantage into the interval. Two minutes after the restart Ash Golding was subject to a crusher tackle which saw Sam Powell sin-binned for ten minutes. The Rhinos couldn’t extend their lead with a man advantage and the two sides settled into some one out rugby which was frustrating the spectators who wanted something a bit more expansive from both sides. Wigan came close on sixty when Dan Sarginson came close to touching down a Sam Tomkins grubber but Ashton Golding flicked the ball dead in goal. Interference at the play the ball on sixty-three gifted Watkins a penalty goal from twenty metres to extend the lead to 8-0. It wasn’t thrilling rugby but the Rhinos were happy with the scoreline and the way that their defensive line was holding. Nine minutes from time and Wigan finally registered their first points when Oliver Gildart was at the end of a right to left passing move to take a John Bateman pass and dove over in the corner. Sam Tomkins kick from the touchline grazed the crossbar but went over for 6-8. Leeds hearts were in mouths two minutes later when Gildart went close again, only halted by a try saving tackle from Ash Golding. On seventy-five minutes Brett Delaney swung an arm in the tackle and Sam Tomkins kicked the penalty to level the scores at 8-8. On seventy-seven Sam Tomkins kicked a drop goal from forty metres to edge his side a point ahead to cap a patient fightback. Myler tried a drop goal for the Rhinos with sixty-seconds left on the clock but slid the ball wide of the uprights and the game was over with the Warriors taking the spoils. This was a game which few people will want to relive on their SKY boxes when they get home .The Rhinos looked in total control for the first seventy minutes but Wigan kept their cool and scored the points when it mattered to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. The Rhinos could, and perhaps should, have put the game to bed but a lack of imagination in a highly tactical game ultimately cost them the points. Wigan keep Saints in their sights but the Rhinos will now be depending on the other results over the weekend to see whether they keep their top four place. Rhinos: Golding, Briscoe (T), Watkins (2G), Handley, Hall, Moon. Myler, Delaney, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ward, Ablett.  Subs: Cuthbertson, Smith, Oledzki, Mullally. Warriors: Tomkins S (2G, DG), Marshall, Bateman, Gildart (T), Burgess, Williams, Powell (SB on 42), Clubb, Leuluai, Navarette, Isa, Farrell, O’Loughlin .  Subs: Sarginson, Sutton, Tomkins J, Tautai. Referee: Ben Thaler. Half-Time: 6-0. Full-Time: 8-9. Attendance: 12,221 (Capacity).

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