Centurions boss Purtill happy to go into Cup test as underdogs

Jordan Baldwinson at full-time at Bloomfield Road as Leigh Centurions suffered a last-gasp defeat to Toronto Wolfpack last weekend, ending an 11-game winning streak. Photo: Paul McCarthy
Jordan Baldwinson at full-time at Bloomfield Road as Leigh Centurions suffered a last-gasp defeat to Toronto Wolfpack last weekend, ending an 11-game winning streak. Photo: Paul McCarthy
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Leigh have no time to lick their wounds following their last-gasp defeat to Toronto at the Summer Bash in Blackpool.

On Friday night they face Super League Leeds Rhinos in the quarterfinals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, a tie which is being played at Featherstone’s Post Office Road because Headingley is being used for an England cricket test match on the same day.

Losing to Toronto was hard to take for Leigh coach Kieron Purtill and his players after they dominated the game for so long.

It also marked the end of an 11-game winning run which has seen Centurions emerge as serious contenders for a top four place as well as reaching the last eight of the Challenge Cup.

Last week, Purtill was rewarded for that run by being made the club’s permanent coach and he was clearly unhappy with the way his team had let slip a commanding win about the Championship’s table-toppers Toronto.

“We have to learn lessons from that game,” said Purtill.

“We have to keep moving forward and learning as a group.

“Our effort was good but we needed to be smarter having got ourselves into a lead.

“Toronto are a good team and when they get a roll on they are hard to stop as they showed by scoring some late tries against us.

“We are disappointed but we will not let it knock us off.

“We have come a long way as a group and have got plenty of games in front of us.

“I think we saw the two best sides in the Championship on Saturday and we also gave a good account of ourselves the last time we were on Sky against Salford in the Challenge Cup a few weeks ago.”

Leeds will start Friday’s game as strong favourites but Leigh will take some confidence from the fact they won in Featherstone in the league only a couple of weeks ago.

Injury problems have affected the Rhinos in recent weeks and on Saturday night they suffered a surprising defeat against struggling Catalans Dragons in France.

Purtill added: “We are up against a good team in Leeds but we had a good result at Featherstone not long ago.

“We are happy to be underdogs but we are looking forward to it.”

There was no comment from Purtill about his onfield altercation with Toronto coach Paul Rowley after the game but it seems likely that there will be an RFL investigation.

“I thought all Leigh’s tries were soft tries to concede,” said Rowley.

“I felt that we were dominant and still felt we could win the game in the closing minutes when we were trailing. I was pleased to get the win.

“It was a massive win for us but a massive loss for Leigh.”