RugbyL: Wolves coach Smith admits no Cup mercy

Warrington head coach Tony Smith admitted to fielding a strong team in the 74-4 Challenge Cup fourth round defeat of Keighley Cougars so that the Wolves can get back on form in the Super League.

The defending champions headed to the Cougars having not strung a sequence of wins together in the Super League for four games however there was little doubt they would see off the Championship outfit.

Brett Hodgson scored one of Warrington's 13 tries and kicked 11 goals in the 74-4 win with Ryan Atkins the most profitable with four while Chris Riley and Rhys Williams both contributed two.

The Wolves have now picked up back-to-back victories, having seen off Wakefield last time out in the Super League, and Smith insisted the first-team players needed to get use to that feeling again.

"We came with a strong team - we only had two debutants - because we needed to get on top of some aspects of our game. We needed a good hit-out," said Smith.

"The first half probably took its toll on our opponents. The floodgates opened for a little while but they didn't throw the towel in by any means. They kept fighting and scored a try and almost got another at the end.

"All credit to Keighley. That's our third year in a row with them and they're getting sick of us but they showed a lot of fortitude."

Meanwhile St Helens coach Nathan Brown insisted Francis Meli's dismissal for a high tackle on Craig Hall in their 26-18 defeat to Super League rivals Hull KR is not a reflection of his character.

The former New Zealand international was sent off eight minutes before half-time for the strike with Hall going on to score the second of his two tries while Brown defended his player.

"Franny's a very clean player - he's rarely penalised at all," said Brown.

"It was just a reflex action and that can happen when you're out wide as an outside back defender when there's big spaces.

"It was a great effort to get to the front with 12 men. It was just unfortunate, with the incident that happened, that we couldn't hang on."

Hull KR's defeat of St Helens was one of two all Super League clashes in the fourth round however Rangi Chase was unable to help Castleford to victory against last year's beaten finalists Leeds.

The 27-year-old, who continues to be linked with a return to the NRL, scored his first try of the season and created another but it wasn't enough as reigning Super League champions Leeds won 28-12.

And Chase, despite being tight lipped on what the future holds, has vowed to continue giving his all for Castleford while he remains with them.

"I am taking every day as it comes, it's out of my hands," said Chase. "While I'm here, I focus on my job because my teammates expect it.

"I could be here for a week, a day, a year, two years. It's out of my hands but I have to focus. I will let people speculate, let everyone else worry about it - I find it quite funny actually."


Former Wests Tigers full-back Brett Hodgson racked up a personal haul of 26 points as Warrington Wolves got the defence of their Challenge Cup title off to a flying start with a comfortable fourth-round win.

The Wire saw off Keighley Cougars 74-4, Ryan Atkins running in four of his side's 13 tries while Hodgson, who made over 100 appearances for the Tigers, added 11 goals and a score himself.

Chris Riley and Rhys Williams both scored twice while Trent Waterhouse, Richie Myler, Gareth O'Brien and Glenn Riley also crossed for the holders in the easy win.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Huddersfield Giants edged out Batley Bulldogs 13-4, Shaun Lunt scoring two tries for the Super League side while skipper Danny Brough kicked two goals and a drop goal.

Hull FC ran riot against the Crusaders in a 62-6 win, full-back Jamie Shaul and centre Kirk Yeaman both scoring hat-tricks as they comfortably reached the fifth round.

William Barthau's hat-trick helped Catalan Dragons to a comfortable 50-12 victory at Championship side Hunslet Hawks.

Super League strugglers Salford City Reds scored 15 tries as they eased to an 82-6 win over Gloucestershire All Golds.

Youngster Jon Ford scored a hat-trick, while Will Hope and Ashley Gibson grabbed two tries apiece for the Reds.

And Elliott Whitehead also ran in a hat-trick as Bradford Bulls eased to a 70-10 win over Rochdale Hornets.

On Saturday, Hull KR continued their fine recent record against St Helens to knock Nathan Brown's side out with a 26-18 win in one of only two all Super League clashes of the fourth round.

The Robins' job was made a lot easier by the first-half dismissal of former New Zealand international Francis Meli for a high tackle on Craig Hall.

Hall was unhurt, however, and dusted himself to run in two tries, Mickey Paea, Greg Eden and Liam Salter also crossing for the home side at while Ade Gardner, Paul Wellens and Mark Percival ran in Saints' scores.

Elsewhere, Lee Smith collected a personal haul of 26 points as five-time Challenge Cup winners Wakefield overcame Championship One newcomers Hemel Stags.

Smith scored two tries and kicked nine goals, while Jon Molloy and Liam Kay also crossed twice among the 11 scores as the Wildcats emerged comfortable 66-6 victors.

Tony Rea's London Broncos avoided a scare as they beat Featherstone 24-12 to progress through.

Ian Hardman's first-half try had Featherstone in front at the break but the Championship side conceded five second-half scores, Kieran Dixon and Luke Dorn both scoring twice in the win.

On Friday Sam Tomkins ran in four tries while Pat Richards claimed a hat-trick as Super League leaders Wigan put Leigh to the sword in a 60-10 success.

Leeds Rhinos, runners up last year and the reigning Super League champions, saw off Castleford Tigers 28-12.

Danny McGuire's double was the difference between the two sides while Kevin Sinfield kicked four goals for the Rhinos, Rangi Chase going over for the Tigers.

And Widnes substitute Adam Lawton claimed a hat-trick as the seven-time winners eventually pulled off a fourth round win over Doncaster, 42-28.