Huddersfield secure first Challenge Cup Final appearance since 2009

08 May 22, 12:14PM 0 Comments

Written by Rugby Football League

Photo by Huddersfield Giants

Huddersfield are 80 minutes away from a first Betfred Challenge Cup triumph for 69 years after gaining a 25-4 win over Hull KR in the second semi-final at Elland Road.

Tries from forwards Josh Jones and Owen Trout and wingers Innes Senior and Jermaine McGillvary enabled the Giants to overcome a disappointing Rovers side and set up a showdown with Wigan at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 28.

The teams will meet for a dress rehearsal in Super League at the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday.

It will be the Giants’ first Challenge Cup final appearance since 2009 but a second in three years for coach Ian Watson, who took Salford to Wembley in 2020 and has achieved the feat in his second season with the Yorkshiremen.

Huddersfield will be underdogs against the Warriors, who were 20-18 victors over holders St Helens in the first semi-final, but they will derive huge confidence from their four-try demolition of Hull KR, who were in danger of being nilled for the second successive week until skipper Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored a consolation try three minutes from the end.

Rovers’ emphatic defeat comes less than a month after coach Tony Smith announced he would be leaving the club at the end of the season and, although they are still handily placed in Super League, it could hasten his departure from Craven Park.

Watson’s men dominated from start to finish, with French scrum-half Theo Fages, a member of St Helens’ Wembley-winning team last July, and Tonga full-back Tui Lolohea orchestrating a thoroughly professional performance.

They had an early try by centre Ricky Leutele disallowed for obstruction but went ahead after nine minutes when stand-off Oliver Russell’s pass out of the tackle got second rower Jones over for the opening try.

Leutele then got Senior sprinting 90 metres for a glorious touchdown after collecting scrum-half Jordan Abdull’s high kick and Russell’s second conversion made it 12-0, which was the score at the break.

Hull KR were never really able to put the Huddersfield defence to the test and the game was over as a contest within a minute of the second half when Fages and Lolohea combined to get McGillvary into space and he showed his England class by rounding Kenny-Dowall and Ethan Ryan to score his side’s third try.

Russell could not add the conversion but kicked a penalty to make it 18-0 before substitute prop Trout ran onto hooker Danny Levi’s short pass to crash over for the Giants’ fourth try.

Russell kicked his fourth goal and Fages rounded off his team’s scoring with a drop goal.

Hull KR finished a well-beaten side but they had the satisfaction of completing the scoring through Kenny-Dowall who fended off the challenge of Lolohea after an interception from Ryan had created the tryscoring position.

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