Semi-Final Preview: St Helens

St Helens are making their tenth successive Challenge Cup semi-final appearance as they attempt to book another trip to Wembley.

The Saints have made two appearances at the redeveloped Wembley Stadium, beating Catalans Dragons in 2007 and Hull in 2008.

It was in 2008 that the Saints defeated Leeds 26-16 in the semi final, which was also staged at Huddersfield.

Paul Wellens has appeared in all ten semi-final appearances and insists Saints’ impressive cup record will not diminish their desire to succeed.

“When you get to my stage of a career, occasionally you can sit back and think how surreal it’s been,” said the St Helens full back.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of big games, but to play in 10 straight semi-finals is an unusual record.

“If there’s one thing you learn from playing in so many, it’s how much it hurts to lose. That happened to us last year against Huddersfield and it was really difficult to take.

“There’s no doubt Leeds will be desperate, and they’ve shown that with their performances in the cup this year, especially against Hull and Wigan.

“But we’ve experienced how good getting to Wembley is, and when you add that to the disappointment of missing out last year, we’re not going to be any less motivated.”

Mick Potter will have Matt Gidley available despite fears the centre would be sidelined with a thigh strain, and winger Jonny Lomax also makes a return from injury.

However, Potter will not risk scrum-half Kyle Eastmond, which means Leon Pryce and Scott Moore will likely be partnered at half back.

19-Man Squad:

Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Meli, Pryce, Cunningham, Graham, Puletua, Wilkin, Flannery, Roby, Hargreaves, Moore, Clough, Ashurst, Lomax, Emmitt, Magennis, Foster


Against Leeds:

This season:
24th April: St Helens 41-20 Leeds
3rd July: Leeds 28-24 St Helens

Previous semi-final meetings:
1976/77: Leeds 7-2 St Helens
1993/94: Leeds 20-8 St Helens
2001: St Helens 27-22 Leeds
2002: St Helens 42-16 Leeds
2003: Leeds 33-26 St Helens (AET)
2008: St Helens 26-16 Leeds

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