Up for the Cup: Fifth Round

The road to Twickenham is getting shorter and shorter as the months go on, with only eight teams left in the Powergen Challenge Cup following a fifth round that offered little in the way of unpredictability.

The most anticipated tie of the round was the crunch game at Knowlsey Road between St Helens and Bradford Bulls, but this turned out to be something of a disappointment as the Saints strolled to a 42-18 win.

The home side had raced into 26-6 lead courtesy of touch-downs from Keiron Cunningham, Paul Wellens, Lee Gilmour and Jamie Lyon.

Cunningham added a second after the break, with Nick Fozzard and Willie Talau also getting on the score sheet to ensure a crushing win for the Saints.

Bradford tries from Joe Vagana and two from Michael Withers were not enough to prevent St Helens from progressing into the quarter finals, where they will meet Les Catalans Dragons.   

The Dragons made their way into the final eight with a 34-16 win over injury-hit Widnes Vikings at the Halton Stadium.

The Vikings, who had defeated Super League opposition in the shape of Castleford Tigers in the last round, battled well with tries from Mark Smith and two from Mick Nanyn, but could not cope with the Catalan side.

The Catalans scored through Mick Dobson, Laurent Frayssionous, Mark Hughes, Justin Murphy and two from Bruno Verges. 

Arguably the game of the round was the game between Salford City Reds and Wigan Warriors, when the struggling Warriors had to endure a 16-4 defeat at the hands of the resurgent Reds.

Sean Rutgerson, Stuart Littler and Stephen Myler got on the scoresheet for the one side at a rain-lashed Willows, and the home side lead 16-0 before Pat Richards added a consolation score for Wigan.

Salford will now play Huddersfield in the quarter finals, after the Giants eased their way past York City Knights, 44-12, at the Galpharm Stadium.

The Knights had actually gone ahead after twenty minutes when Matt Blaymaire opened the scoring, but two tries from Chris Nero gave Huddersfield a 12-4 lead.

Second half tries from James Evans, Michael De Vere, Paul March, along with two from Stuart Donlan, ensured the win for the home side.

Harlequins and Leeds Rhinos will face each other in the quarter finals, each having a relatively easy passage to the next round at home to National League opposition.

Quins saw off Barrow Raiders at the Twickenham Stoop, inflicted a massive 82-8 thrashing of the Cumbrian side, while the Rhinos sent Rochdale Hornets crashing out of the competition at Headingley with a marginally less emphatic 66-0 win.

Warrington Wolves had a relatively easy route into the quarter finals with a 46-2 win over Whitehaven at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
They will face Hull Kingston Rovers for a place in the semis, after the NL1 favourites defeated Featherstone Rovers 44-12 at New Craven Park.

The sense of anticipation grows ever more tangible as the route to rugby league's showpiece final nears its conclusion.

The next round promises to throw up an interesting semi final draw, as well as the hint of a possible upset.

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