Leeds Tykes 53 Preston Grasshoppers 21: Leaders claim comfortable victory

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Director of rugby Alex Keay has called for an improved mentality after Preston Grasshoppers were beaten 53-21 at Leeds Tykes.

Tries from Jack Lightowler and Tyler Spence did little to weaken the blow as table-topping Leeds showed why they remain unbeaten this season.

Hoppers were coming off the back of a stirring comeback to draw against Hull last weekend and Will Hunt gave them an early lead with a straightforward penalty after four minutes.

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Leeds responded through captain Adam Brown, who dotted down from a rolling maul for the opening try.

Preston Grasshoppers were beaten at Leeds Tykes on Saturday (photo: John Ashton)Preston Grasshoppers were beaten at Leeds Tykes on Saturday (photo: John Ashton)
Preston Grasshoppers were beaten at Leeds Tykes on Saturday (photo: John Ashton)
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Hoppers’ fly-half Hunt slotted another penalty before the hosts scored again, Harry Jukes going over in the right corner despite a suspicion of offside in the build-up.

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

Hoppers’ woes when defending mauls continued with Henry MacNab profiting from Leeds’ physical dominance to dive over.

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

Preston went down to 14 men when referee Dan Woods sinbinned Ally Murray for technical foul play before Venables got his second try to make it 29-14 at the interval.

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

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

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Venables wrapped up 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, (we) 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 now have two weeks off before they host Sheffield Tigers.