Challenge Cup semi-final: St Helens 26-2 Halifax

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Highlights: St Helens overcome Halifax to reach Challenge Cup final
Coral Challenge Cup semi-final
St Helens (8) 26
Tries: Roby, Peyroux, Lomax, Fages Goals: Richardson 5
Halifax (2) 2
Goal: Tyrer

St Helens secured their first Challenge Cup final spot since 2008 by overcoming battling part-time side Halifax.

Danny Richardson and Steve Tyler exchanged kicks early on, before James Roby crossed to give the Super League leaders a six-point half-time lead.

Saints went further ahead against the Championship team through Dominique Peyroux, Jonny Lomax and Theo Fages.

St Helens will face Warrington in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, 24 August.

Saints struggled to break down resilient Halifax in the early stages, Simon Grix's side holding them up on numerous occasions.

That the score was only 8-2 in St Helens' favour at half-time was testament to a hardworking Halifax performance in the first half, with 12-time winners St Helens relying on Roby's breakthrough.

Peyroux's second-half try gave them some breathing room and they found a way through Fax's defence twice more in the closing stages to wrap it up.

Saints into their 22nd Challenge Cup final

St Helens' last appearance in a Challenge Cup final came 11 years ago, when they won their third title in a row by defeating Hull FC.

Saints had seemed cursed by the cup in recent years, and lost to eventual winners Catalans Dragons in last year's semi-final at the same venue.

Their win means their bid to win a domestic treble of the League Leaders' Shield, Super League and Challenge Cup continues.

Justin Holbrook's side are 10 points clear at the top of Super League, despite losing their most recent league game to bottom club London Broncos having rested nine players.

A fine run for Fax

Halifax, who had beaten Bradford Bulls in order to reach Saturday's semi-final, performed valiantly for a semi-professional side but exited the competition at the hands of one of the most dominant teams that Super League has seen for some time.

Fax's run in this season's Challenge Cup has seen them beat Hunslet Hawks, London Broncos, Dewsbury and Bradford.

Second-tier sides have had great success in this season's competition, with Bradford beating Leeds en route to the quarter-final stages.

Defeat by Saints has all-but ended Halifax's season - they are eighth in the Championship and look unlikely to challenge for promotion to Super League.

'They've earned a beer or two' - post-match reaction

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook: "I'm really happy to win. The main thing with a semi-final is you've got to win it to get to Wembley and we've done that so it's really pleasing.

"It's great that we've won the game but it's good for competition over here to have a Championship team in the semi-finals and to play as well as they did was great.

"They tried hard for 80 minutes. We knew it was going to be a tough day, they're tricky games when everybody says you've won before you play.

"They were tough conditions with the constant drizzle and we tried to play a bit too much in the first half but we settled down in the second half and defensively we were terrific."

Halifax coach Simon Grix: "I'm very proud of them, I said all week I didn't think we would be beaten for effort and I don't think anyone could argue about that.

"Saints will all know they've been in a game when they wake up in the morning.

"It could have been a fairytale but the likelihood was we were going to get beat. We never said it but limiting it was the thing for us really.

"At 8-2 we were in the game and came up with a lot of errors as well. The effort was brilliant, I think they surprised themselves. Everyone was talking about 60 and 70 points.

"They've definitely earned a beer or two and one or two of them will probably get a couple of days off work."

St Helens: Lomax; Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Fages, Richardson; Thompson, Roby, Walmsley, Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paulo.

Interchanges: Amor, Lees, Ashworth, Bentley.

Halifax: Grix; Robinson, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Tangata, Moore, Kavanagh, Butler, Barber, Fairbank.

Interchanges: Fleming, Kaye, Larroyer, Morris.

Referee: Chris Kendall