Saints too hot for Leeds in England - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints too hot for Leeds in England

27/07/2008 06:12:26 AM Comments (0)

Defending champions St Helens overcame the unusual intense heat in Huddersfield and a spirited Leeds recovery to win the first semi-final of English rugby league's Challenge Cup 26-16 on Saturday.

Leeds trailed 18-2 in the second half before cutting the deficit to two points with two tries in five minutes.

Bryn Hargreaves, however, scored Saints' fourth try of the match 10 minutes from fulltime to keep his team on course for a hat-trick of Challenge Cup final wins.

"I'm thrilled," said St Helens coach Daniel Anderson, who is stepping down at the end of the season.

"Those games are so difficult. We lacked rhythm but that is as much to do with Leeds and the conditions out there.

"Leeds were very courageous but we showed our professionalism today when we needed to.

"It is great to go back to Wembley. It's very exciting and we are very satisfied because we have worked very hard this year."

Little went right for Leeds on a day when they lost Brent Webb before kick-off with a back spasm before playmaker Rob Burrow was knocked out early in the match.

Burrow did return for the final quarter while Clinton Toopi went off with a knee problem.

Danny McGuire was hampered for much of the match with a calf injury and Leeds coach Brian McClennan said: "The players can look at each and know that the man next to them gave their best.

"That is important because we are all very disappointed.

"It was a competition we wanted to do well in but we weren't good enough today," he added. "St Helens were very good. They kept winning territory and they were pretty clinical."

Wakefield play Hull in Sunday's second semi-final.

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