|29th Jul 2006||PCCSF||NEUTRAL||12868||HT:0-24|
|MATCH NOTES : Match played at Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield - conditions dry and warm. Saints moved to their fourth Challenge Cup Final in six years. Paul Wellens scored his 100th try for the Saints. |
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 26. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : A display of overwhelming skill and athleticism saw Saints brush aside Hull KR as they crusied to their fourth Challenge Cup Final in six years.
Saints have lifted the famous trophy on nine occasions and scored a try for every previous win to the delight of the large travelling support at the Galpharm Stadium.
Four tries in the opening half-hour starkly demonstrated the gulf between the leaders of Super League and National league 1 as Saints clinically established an unassailable lead to forge a comfortable passage through to the Twickenham final.
Keiron Cunningham, the only survivor from Saintsí Wembley victories in 1996 and 1997, was the dominant figure as Saints overran their opponents but he was assisted by strong performances across the park.
Most of the pre-match build-up centred around Jon Wilkin and his connections with the East Hull club as a boyhood fan and player and his two early tries went a long way to ensuring that there would be no shock.
It took little more than two minutes for Saints to score the gameís opening try, Sean Long finishing off Cunninghamís break after Paul Andersonís smart offload.
Rovers were not to be overawed and the video referee was required to rule out what would have been a fortuitous equaliser for the Robins by Tommy Gallagher.
Saints were able to benefit from their own piece of good fortune moments later when Longís kick came back off the post into Wilkinís grasp, then the young second-rower scored his second after he was in the right place to take Jason Caylessís fantastic pass.
Robinsí prop Makalie Aizue was lucky to stay on the field after a bad tackle on Long but Saints meted out their own punishment with Kiwi Vinnie Anderson scoring from the resulting possession. Jamie Lyonís fourth successful conversion opened up a 24-0 lead after just 28 minutes to put the result beyond doubt.
Hull KR refused to cave in and kept Saints scoreless for 20 minutes either side of half-time Ė a period that almost exactly coincided with Cunningham being off the pitch Ė until Lyon crossed to maintain his record of scoring in every round.
Willie Talauís brace gave the scoreline a very one-sided appearance, although in between his tries Paul Wellens and Lyon combined to stop Tommy Gallagher providing some consolation for the Hull KR fans.
Instead they had to watch Saints reach the half-century for the third time in July: Ade Gardner scoring after Maurie Faíasavaluís powerful run then Wellens finished the scoring with his 100th Saints try.
Fifty years on since Saints first won the Challenge Cup, they remain on course for their tenth triumph.
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