St Helens recorded a 26-16 victory against Leeds yesterday that took them through to a third successive Carnegie Challenge Cup final.
The Saints march on to the final
HUDDERSFIELD // St Helens roared to a 26-16 victory against arch rivals Leeds yesterday that took them through to a third successive Carnegie Challenge Cup final. The Saints were always in charge of the semi-final clash at the Galpharm Stadium after Sean Long sent Chris Flannery over for the opening try of the match after seven minutes. Saints will now be overwhelming favourites to make it a third successive triumph in coach Daniel Anderson's final season at the club when they take on Wakefield or Hull at Wembley on Aug 30.
Leeds staged a second-half rally after trailing 18-2, but they were easily second best on a day when little went right for them. Apart from the opening moments when second rower Ali Lauitiiti briefly threatened to cause havoc with his offloads, Leeds struggled. Their full-back Lee Smith and winger Ryan Hall were forced to withstand a barrage of kicks from Jon Wilkin and half-backs Long and Leon Pryce as the Saints dominated.
It was Long who created the first try for the loose forward Flannery. The Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield pulled two points back with a penalty, but the Leeds defence lived dangerously until Pryce took Long's pass to score his second try. Long's second conversion made it 12-2 and, when Wilkin finished off a superb break by the left winger Francis Meli eight minutes into the second half, it looked all over.
But Leeds hit back as Lauitiiti plunged over on 54 minutes and four minutes later winger Scott Donald took Keith Senior's pass to squeeze over at the corner. Sinfield added one conversion to cut the gap to six points, but Long Long calmed the Saints' nerves with a penalty before James Graham sealed the victory with his try. Kylie Leuluai scored a late consolation try for Leeds, but it was too little too late.
* PA Sport