Why was England football boss Gareth Southgate at Leeds Rhinos v Huddersfield Giants in Super League rather than the Manchester derby? SunSport finds out


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Fans went ballistic after seeing Southgate at Headingley rather than the Etihad

GARETH Southgate found himself watching a tight, tense clash that will not live long in the memory – and a Manchester side was nowhere to be seen.

The England football boss opted to honour an invite from the Leeds Rhinos Foundation that is believed to have been committed to months ago, before the Manchester derby was rearranged for last night.

England boss Gareth Southgate raised some fans’ anger by watching Leeds v Huddersfield instead of the Manchester derby

SunSport understands the link comes from daughter Mia’s spell at now defunct netball side Yorkshire Jets, which worked closely with the rugby league club.

So rather than get a close glimpse of what the likes of Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling are capable of on a massive occasion, he saw first hand what talents the likes of Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall could produce.

And fans were not happy, slamming him online without knowing the full facts.

Some even questioned whether Southgate’s choice means he is suitable to manage England – even though it was an arrangement far more long-standing than the football match.

England boss Gareth Southgate was at Leeds Rhinos against Huddersfield in the Super League instead of the Etihad


Southgate was a guest of the Leeds Rugby Foundation

And like Leeds, Southgate was left disappointed as Scotland international Dale Ferguson’s 58th minute effort helped earn Huddersfield a surprise 31-12 win in a game dominated by penalties.

The Giants were in mourning before the game after Jennifer Davy, wife of owner Ken, died suddenly but Rick Stone’s men were determined to get a much-needed win as Leeds chased top spot.

With Southgate in the stands at Headingley, Leeds’ Watkins and Hall along with Huddersfield’s Jermaine McGillvary warmed up for next week’s England Test against Samoa in Sydney.

The Giants never really looked like scoring early on – the same could not be said of Leeds as Matt Parcell dummied and strolled over the line.

But Southgate saw Huddersfield Giants beat Leeds in a shock Super League result


Southgate saw Huddersfield pull off a shock 31-12 win

However, Jake Mamo pounced from Alex Mellor’s kick and Kruise Leeming stole over from dummy half to turn the scoreboard around.

Joel Moon cashed in as youngster Jack Walker’s ball deflected off Darnell McIntosh and Danny McGuire stole through the Giants’ defence on 52 minutes, only to be pulled back for a soft obstruction.

But Ferguson’s score was given to help heal some of the wounds from last week’s Challenge Cup humbling by Swinton.

Youngster McIntosh pounced after Adam Cuthbertson spilled the ball to put Huddersfield in command, with Danny Brough’s drop goal and fifth conversion after Oliver Roberts’ try rounding things off.

Rhinos boss Brian McDermott found his team battling the drop last year


Leeds boss Brian McDermott was unhappy at his side’s performance

All that left Leeds boss Brian McDermott downhearted and frustrated with some of the calls from referee Chris Kendall.

He said: “I give Huddersfield a lot of credit, they were tenacious and showed a lot of endeavour but it wasn’t a great game, we were really poor.

“Huddersfield deserved to win but I wouldn’t put it down to a great performance from them. We were trying to invent plays.

“And a lot of penalties were awarded for both teams for things I’m not sure about. At the moment, there’s not enough consistency with what is an infringement.”

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