St Helens injury news: Paul Wellens praises how Saints responded to losing key duo

Drew Darbyshire
Paul Wellens St Helens News Images

Photo: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

St Helens boss Paul Wellens praised the way his side responded to losing key men Tommy Makinson and Mark Percival in their Challenge Cup win over Hull.

The Saints lost winger Makinson and centre Percival in the first half of their 32-18 win at Hull in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup on Saturday afternoon.

Percival left the field for a head injury assessment following a collision with Brad Fash in a tackle and didn’t return after failing his HIA, whilst Makinson’s afternoon was cut short due to a hamstring injury.

Wellens then had to re-jig his backline and, speaking after the game, praised his side for how they responded to the loss of their key duo.

He said: “I want to commend the team on dealing with the adversity.

“I know they went down to 12 men but losing two outside-backs to injury can sometimes be as disruptive and it’s important to have players who are prepared to put their hand up and give it their best effort out of position for the team.

“To win big games you sometimes need some of those efforts and that’s exactly what we needed today.”

‘It’s a goal of ours this year to win the Challenge Cup’ – St Helens boss

The score was level at 12-12 at the break with Joe Batchelor and Konrad Hurrell scoring first half tries for Saints, with Josh Griffin and Andre Savelio scoring for Hull.

Griffin was sent off on the stroke of half-time. He was initially shown a yellow card before saying something to referee Chris Kendall, which then saw him receive a red.

Tries from Curtis Sironen and Lewis Dodd put Saints ahead shortly after the second half restart before Jake Trueman gave Hull a chance, but late scores from Jack Welsby and James Bell secured the 32-18 win for Saints.

Wellens added: “I was probably more anxious after they went down to 12 men because often you see teams galvanised on the back of it and I thought Hull FC were tremendous in how they competed after that.

“It was important that we were patient with the ball and important that we got through our sets and played as if we were playing against 13. When we did that I thought we looked really good and scored tries through the middle more so than on an edge.

“It’s a goal of ours this year to win the Challenge Cup so to book our place in the semi-finals is pleasing.

“It’s going to be really tough whoever we face in the final four but we’re really looking forward to it.”

St Helens will discover their semi-final opponents when the draw is made on Sunday afternoon.

READ NEXT: Jack Welsby inspires St Helens to Challenge Cup semi-finals after beating Hull FC