Leeds Tykes vs Preston Grasshoppers

Date: 15 October 2023

Leeds Tykes 53-21 Preston Grasshoppers

Director of Rugby Alex Keay has called for an improved mentality after Preston Grasshoppers were torn apart in a 53-21 defeat away to Leeds Tykes.

Tries from Jack Lightowler (pictured above) and Tyler Spence did little to weaken the blow by table-topping Leeds, who showed why they remain unbeaten this season.

Hoppers were coming off the back of a stirring comeback to draw against Hull last weekend and occupied ninth place before kick-off.

Will Hunt gave Preston an early lead with a straightforward penalty after four minutes, but Leeds responded through captain Adam Brown, who dotted down from a rolling maul for the opening try.

Hoppers’ fly-half Hunt slotted another penalty before the hosts scored again, with Harry Jukes going over in the right corner despite suspicion of offside in the build-up.

Lightowler restored Preston’s lead after he broke through two tackles to touch down to the delight of a healthy travelling support.

Hoppers’ woes when defending mauls continued with Henry MacNab profiting from his pack’s physical dominance to dive over the whitewash.

Hunt added another penalty for the visitors, but two minutes later, Charlie Venables secured a bonus for Leeds after latching onto a kick through.

Hoppers went down to 14 men when referee Dan Woods sin-binned Ally Murray for technical foul play, and Venables got his second try to make it 29-14 at the interval.

Jukes scored two tries in seven minutes for a hat-trick, firstly linking up with Tom Williams to run in under the posts before a quick tap sent the flying winger away down the left flank to cross the line in the corner.

The Leeds speedster had his fourth try on 65 minutes when miscommunication by Hoppers at a lineout saw the ball spilt in the host’s 22, which allowed Tobi Ademakin to break and offload to Jukes to run free down the left to score.

Venables wrapped his hat-trick with two minutes left after a lovely backs move saw him touch down in the right corner.

Jacob Browne’s persistence allowed Spence to score a consolation try, but it was not enough to appease Keay.

He said: “We need to toughen up mentally and find a better mindset.

“Once someone squeezes us, just lose a bit of toughness, and it’s not toughness just physically, it’s mentally.

“We’ve had a few words in the dressing room.”

Hoppers have two weeks off before they host Sheffield Tigers.

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