Leigh Centurions bowed out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage with this defeat at the LD Nutrition Stadium.
An early red card to Peter Matautia with the visitors leading 6-0 through Nathan Mason’s converted try proved costly.
Matautia was sent off by referee Chris Kendall for what he deemed a dangerous tackle and the Rhinos took full advantage.
A quick-fire brace by winger Tom Briscoe got the Rhinos in front and four tries in a devastating eight-minute spell by Jack Walker, Ash Handley, Jimmy Keinhorst and Ashton Golding sealed the tie.
Backed by magnificent support from a 1,000 plus travelling army the Centurions fought back with a Drew Hutchison try but Richie Myler went over on the stroke of half-time to open up a 40-12 interval lead.
Though Cameron Smith went over for his first Leeds try and Jordan Lilley, on loan at LSV earlier in the season took his goals tally to eight, Leeds added only one further try in the second half with Adam Cuthbertson scoring in the last minute.
Ben Crooks and Liam Hood scored further tries for the visitors who battled back bravely in the second half to reward the fans for their unstinting loyalty.
But Leigh finished the tie with ten men after Jamie Acton was sin binned alongside Brett Ferres and then Matty Dawson-Jones was red carded for dissent.
Leigh Centurions head coach Kieron Purtill said: ” The sending off had a big effect on us and probably stunned us for a bit. Defensively we had looked okay but after that we didn’t handle the first half very well. Leeds are a fantastic team and they went quick on us.
“In the second half we wanted to give a good account of ourselves. We have worked really hard over the past few weeks and I was happy with the effort in the second half. I though Ben Crooks was outstanding.
“I have no complaints with the red card – I have not seen it again but it didn’t look great live. We have to be better as a group to handle things like that.
“Peter has been great for us all season and he’s a great bloke. He’s not got a nasty bone in him. He’s one of our leaders. He doesn’t need me to tell him he did the wrong thing. He’s deeply upset.
“We have to rally round Peter and make sure we get back on track. There was a lot of frustration with our players in the closing stages and indiscipline could be costly.
“The fans were fantastic. They’ve followed us all year and they back this club to the hilt.
“The referees are what they are. We need to take them out of the equation and concentrate on our own performances. We thought we had a chance tonight. We need to build on that second half and get back to the league campaign.”
Leeds: Walker, Briscoe, Keinhorst, Handley, Hall, Lilley, Myler, Cuthbertson, Parcell, Oledzki, Ferres, Ward, Ablett. Interchange: Mullally, Smith, Walters, Golding.
Tries: Briscoe (9, 13), Walker (19), Handley (22), Keinhorst (24), Golding (27), Myler (40), Smith (46), Cuthbertson (80);
Goals: Lilley 8/10.
Yellow Card: Ferres (77).
Leigh: Mata’utia, Dawson-Jones, Crooks, Hall, Evans, Reynolds, Hutchinson, Acton, Hood, Mason, B Thompson, Hansen, J Thompson. Replacements: Richards, Higham, Baldwinson, Larroyer.
Tries: Mason (4), Hutchison (34), Crooks (65), Hood (74);
Goals; Reynolds 3/ 4.
Red Cards; Matautia (7), Dawson-Jones (80);
Yellow Card: Acton (77).
Referee: Chris Kendall.
Photos courtesy of SW Pix