Rhinos charge past Wildcats
Centre Hardaker bags a brace of tries to help see off Wakefield
Last Updated: 13/04/12 11:03pm
Leeds overcame a half-time deficit to see off Wakefield 38-18 in the all-Super League Carnegie Challenge Cup tie at Headingley.
The Wildcats suggested an upset could be on the cards when tries from Kyle Amor and Danny Kirmond put them deservedly 12-6 ahead at the break.
However the Rhinos came storming back in the second 40 minutes, Zak Hardaker crossing twice to help the hosts run out comfortable winners.
Stand-off Danny McGuire also touched down on his return from a four-match injury absence, as last year's beaten finalists became the first team to book their place in Monday's fifth-round draw.
They grabbed three tries in the final 12 minutes to give the scoreline a rather flattering look after a disjointed first-half display that wasn't helped by the loss of Rob Burrow.
The hooker suffered a facial injury after only three minutes following a challenge from Wildcats loose forward Paul Aiton.
After centre Dean Collis dropped Peter Fox's pass and McGuire produced a last-gasp tackle to deny Kirmond, the visitors took the lead after 17 minutes when prop Amor, on a season-long loan from the Rhinos, went over.
Paul Sykes kicked the conversion to make it 6-0 and hooker Kyle Wood almost added a second try before Leeds drew level after 23 minutes, prop Ryan Bailey notching his first try of the campaign.
Kevin Sinfield added the goal but the Wildcats restored their lead six minutes later when Kirmond proved unstoppable from 15 metres out, Sykes kicking his second goal to put the Wildcats six points clear at the end of the half.
But any hope of a shock disappeared within eight minutes of the re-start as Leeds hit the visitors with two quick-fire scores.
Second-row pair Brett Delaney and Chris Clarkson opened up the Wakefield defence for McGuire to touch down and Hardaker somehow escaped four defenders from a virtual standing start to register a scintillating solo score.
Sinfield added both goals to make it 18-12 and there was no way back for the Wildcats when Hardaker completed his brace after 57 minutes.
With the game now gone, Wakefield's defence was to be breached again by centre Carl Ablett, who took Brent Webb's pass to cross the line.
Replacement hooker Paul McShane then burrowed his way over from dummy half and winger Ben Jones-Bishop crossed in the corner, allowing Sinfield to kick the last of his five conversions.
Wakefield did have the final say when stand-off Isaac John scored a try with two minutes to play, though it was no more than a consolation.
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup