Leeds 26 Harlequins 36: Gale and Ellis star as Quins' victory takes them top of the table

Harlequins went top of Engage Super League for the first time in their history after maintaining their 100 per cent start to the season under rookie coach Rob Powell at the expense of his old boss Brian McDermott.

In-form half-back Luke Gale, who began his career in the Leeds academy, led the way as the Londoners, who finished next to bottom of the table in McDermott's last season at the Stoop, followed up their wins over Catalan Dragons and Crusaders with a second win at Headingley in three years.

Gale scored his fourth try in three games and livewire hooker Andy Ellis touched down twice as the Londoners put an error-strewn Rhinos team to the sword and inflicted on them their first defeat under McDermott.

No way through: Quins' defensive line holds as Leeds attempt to break

No way through: Quins' defensive line holds as Leeds attempt to break

Yet it looked so predictable when the home side went in front after four minutes, skipper Kevin Sinfield carving out an opening for second rower Chris Clarkson to score the game's first try, to which Sinfield added the conversion.

But Sinfield's kicking out of hand was less accurate and the Rhinos relaxed their early grip on the game to alarming effect.

Gale seized on a defensive mix-up between Leeds full-back Ben Jones-Bishop - a former Quins team-mate - and Lee Smith to grab his fourth try in three games to level the scores.

The Londoners then went in front thanks to a bizarre try from England centre Tony Clubb, who was left with a clear 30-metre run to the line after collecting Sinfield's goal-line drop-out, and they extended their lead on 30 minutes when Ellis burrowed his way over from dummy-half for his first try.

Gale converted all three tries but Sinfield brought his side back into the game just before the break when he went through a yawning gap in the visitors' defence for a solo try.

The game appeared to be turning Leeds' way when England winger Ryan Hall took Keith Senior's pass to grab a third try 10 minutes into the second half to cut gap to just two points.

With both sides showing a willingness to throw the ball around, play flowed from end to end in an entertaining second half and Harlequins played their full part.

Chad Randall twice picked off Leeds passes to turn defence into attack and a break from Ellis set up the position for Gale to send skipper Rob Purdham in for the visitors' fourth try on 56 minutes.

The Londoners, who gave a debut to centre Karl Pryce, their loan signing from Wigan, then went two scores in front when Australian loose forward Chris Bailey made light of some soft defence to crash over for his first try for the club.

Ellis demonstrated no fear for his safety when charging over for his second try and Gale maintained his 100% record with the boot to make it 36-16.

The Rhinos were well beaten but at least they finished with a flourish, with winger Lee Smith and loose forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan scoring tries in the last five minutes.