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Lowes salutes Sinfield
Leeds assistant coach James Lowes paid tribute to captain Kevin Sinfield after his 28-point haul helped the Rhinos to a 60-12 victory over Leigh in the quarter-finals of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.
Sinfield scored two of his side's 10 tries and kicked all 10 conversions as the Rhinos, runners-up for the last two years, moved to within 80 minutes of a third consecutive Wembley appearance.
"He's fantastic," said Lowes. "He's been really good all season. He picked up a couple of tries as well which is good to see. He fully deserved that."
Leigh were level at 6-6 until Sinfield's kick created a try for full-back Brent Webb midway through the first half but wingers Ben Jones-Bishop and Ryan Hall added others just before half-time to set up the position for a dominant second-half performance.
"It didn't quite work for us in the first half but Leigh shut down some of our plays," added Lowes. "We tweaked it a little bit at half-time and I thought we were pretty ruthless in the second half.
"Kev, Rob (Burrow) and Danny (McGuire) were very good and Ryan Bailey was a big influence for us. We grabbed hold of the game early on in the second half and I thought we controlled it very well."
Second rower Tommy Goulden's early try gave Leigh hope that they could repeat their shock 1971 Cup final win over the Yorkshiremen and, although they were eventually over-run, coach Paul Rowley was proud of the efforts of his part-time players.
"We believed we could expose Leeds and I think we showed we found some weaknesses," he said. "Perhaps we just lacked a bit of a cutting edge and a powerful bench to come on and kick us on. I think that's when we saw Leeds become dominant.
"We had belief, passion and no shortage of skill. I think the stats were fairly even in terms of completion, possession and territory but they scored some fantastic long-range tries and in the end they took its toll. I reckon we did ourselves proud as a club and I'm sure Leigh fans enjoyed the match.
"I'm confident Leeds will go on and punish some Super League opposition far more severely than did against us. It's a cruel sport. I don't think we deserved that scoreline. It was an arm wrestle and we did create some massive opportunities against a world-class side."