ANOTHER much changed Leigh rugby union side was defeated by second-placed Manchester.

The loss drops Leigh into fifth place.

Due to injuries or unavailability, Olly Reffell, Matty Rudd and Kieran Seddon returned to first-team action and young centre Daniel Evans was drafted in to make his debut.

Leigh knew that given so many changes to the squad that their task would be an uphill one but every player gave it their all until the final whistle and they all deserve praise for their unstinting efforts.

Manchester went ahead in the tenth minute through a converted, pushover try but Leigh’s first real touch of the ball drew them level on twenty minutes, when an excellent line break by Jonny Drake found Chris Cowley in close support for him, in turn, to feed the ever hungry Jamie King, on his inside for him to scoot over for a well taken try under the Manchester crossbar.

Eliot Liku added the conversion.

Manchester responded within minutes, through a well-constructed try of their own, when their two centres combined for Joe Williams to go over for a well-deserved, unconverted try which took the sides off at the break with Manchester leading 12-7.

Constant pressure by Manchester saw them add a converted try in the 48th minute but a yellow card awarded against a Leigh player in the 55th minute was to cost them dearly.

While Leigh were down to 14 men, Manchester added two more converted tries, to stretch their lead to 26 points with the score at 33-7.

A final unconverted try by Manchester on the last play of the game took Manchester off worthy 38-7 winners.

Despite the scoreline, this was another creditable and gutsy performance by the Leigh squad, with Matty Rudd, Jonny Drake, Jamie King, Chris Cowley and Eliot Liku being the pick of the crop.

Next game is Sefton away on Saturday, January 4, kick-off 2.15pm.