Leeds coach Brian McDermott could hardly contain his delight after watching his team step up their efforts to retain their Super League crown with a thrilling 27-20 win over Catalan Dragons in Perpignan.

The Rhinos, aiming to win the title from fifth place for a second successive season, are through to the last four and a potential trip to table-topping Wigan after twice coming from behind to win their preliminary semi-final at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

"I'm so proud to be in charge of a courageous group of young men prepared to do anything to get the job done," McDermott told Sky Sports 2. "It's a fantastic result. Commiserations go to Catalan who have been sensational all year. This is a significant win, coming over here to their backyard."

Leeds were without prop Kylie Leuluai because of suspension and captain Kevin Sinfield paid tribute to his pack for quelling the onslaught from the big Catalan forwards.

"It was a really tough game," he said. "We expected it to be like that. The last two times we've come here we found it really tough and got beat.

"I thought our middle men were really strong for us and set up a great platform."

The Catalans led 4-0 thanks to an early try from full-back Clint Greenshields on his final appearance and were 14-12 in front after winger Damien Blanch scored either side of half-time.

The Rhinos looked to have secured the victory when quickfire tries from Carl Ablett and Danny McGuire established a 10-point lead after 64 minutes but the Dragons hit back through Thomas Bosc and were still in contention until McGuire landed a drop goal three minutes from the end.

Defeat brought to an end the tenure of Catalan coach Trent Robinson, who will now return to Australia to take charge of Sydney Roosters, and he bowed out with a swipe at Super League referees.

"We've been battling referees all year and tonight I thought our boys deserved better," he said.