WRAP: 2024 Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter Finals


A full wrap up of the quarter finals with Rob McHugh.

All listed times are BST (UK local time)

RELATED: See the full list of 2024 Betfred Challenge Cup Draw and Results.

Hull KR 26 Leigh Leopards 14
Venue: Sewell Group Craven Park, Hull

Date: Sat, 13th April.   Kickoff: 5:00 PM.   Halftime: Leigh 8-4.   Penalties: 4-all.   Referee: Chris Kendall.   

Hull KR: Evalds, Burgess, Hiku, Opacic, Hall; May, Lewis; Sue, Litten, Whitbread, Hadley, Batchelor, Minchella (C). Int: Parcell, Storton, Tanginoa, Tennison.
Leigh: Moylan, Hanley, Hardaker, Leutele, Charnley; McNamara, Lam (C); Amone, Dwyer, Trout, O'Donnell, Halton, Hughes. Int: Norman, Davis, Nakubuwai, Chamberlain.

Hull Kingston Rovers (26)
Tries: Joe Burgess 2, Niall Evalds, Kelepi Tanginoa, Elliott Minchella
Goals: Mikey Lewis 3/5

Leigh Leopards (14)
Tries: Kai O'Donnell, Umyla Hanley
Goals: Matt Moylan 3/3

Hull Kingston Rovers and Leigh Leopards met in the weekend's first Challenge Cup quarter final, in a repeat of last year's final which saw the Leopards take home the big prize.

Leigh came into the game hoping that the cup could provide some relief, after a difficult start to the season with just one win from 6 league games. Hull KR, on the other hand, were the bookies favourites and were hoping to avenge last season's defeat in the final.

After a tense opening period, in which both defences showed bared their teeth with some big hits, Joe Burgess scored the first try, with a spectacular break from deep inside his own half. Burgess left Tom Amone for dead with a sidestep, before rounding full-back Matt Moylan for pace to touchdown in the 9th Minute. Mikey Lewis took on the kicking duties, but skewed the kick wide, with goal kicking continuing to be an issue for the Robins. 

Leigh responded quickly, scoring their first try in the 13th Minute, through Kai O'Donnell. On the last tackle of the set, with Hull KR expecting a kick, Matt Moylan showed right, but passed back inside to Lachlan Lam, who found O'Donnell in space to score, with Moylan converting to give Leigh a 6-4 lead. 

Hull KR came closest to scoring the next try, with two tries disallowed, the second of which was particularly controversial, with Hadley crashing over from close range, only for the referee to call a forward pass, which looked to be a harsh call. 

But it was Leigh who would increase their lead before half time, through the boot of Moylan. Hull KR lost the ball deep in their own half, giving Leigh a scrum 10 metres out. KR were then penalised for breaking early from the scrum, handing Moylan a simple shot at goal, which he gratefully took, to make the score 8-4 at half time.

Hull KR then opened the score in the second half, with Burgess scoring his second try of the game. Zak Hardaker knocked on in his own half, which handed the Robins great field position.

The Robins did not waste this chance, with a great pass from left to right by Tyrone May found Petr Hiku, whose quick hands put Burgess in to score. Mikey Lewis kicked from the touchline to put KR back in a 10-8 lead. 

Hull KR were now on a roll, and extended their lead in the 51st. Mikey Lewis, who had a quiet first half by his high standards, burst into life, breaking through the Leigh line to put KR on the front foot. And it was Lewis who then received the ball a couple of tackles later, throwing a short pass to free Tanginoa for a simple finish.

KR were on a roll, and through they had extended their lead further in the next minute, but had another try disallowed for offside. And Leigh capitalised on this let off, scoring off the ensuing set. Leigh worked the ball from left to right, with the ball ultimately finding winger Umyla Handley, who scored in the corner, to continue his run of good form, Moylan kicked from the touchline, with Leigh's deficit reduced to 2 points.

However, Niall Evalds' 71st minute try killed any hope of Leigh retaining the Challenge Cup and allowed Rovers to banish last year's demons. A Leigh knock on, from an attempted interception, gave the Robins close to the Leigh line, and a slick passing move released Evalds to score. Lewis missed the conversion, to keep the Leopards in touch, with KR leading 20-14.

Despite some late Leigh pressure, Elliot Minchella sealed the win with a late try, picking up a loose ball 10 metres out with Leigh keeping the ball alive, trying to force a late score. Lewis added the kick from in front of the posts to make the final score 26-14, and book Rover's place in the semi-finals. On current form, they will be hopeful of going one step further than last year.

Catalans Dragons 6 Huddersfield Giants 34
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan

Date: Sat, 13th April.   Kickoff: 7:00 PM.   Halftime: Huddersfield 16-0.   Penalties: Catalans 7-3.   Referee: Aaron Moore.   Crowd: 5,892.

Catalans: Mourgue, Davies, Romano, Laguerre, Ikuvalu; Nikorima, Fages; McMeeken, Da Costa, Navarrete, Sims, Séguier, Garcia (C). Int: Bousquet, Sironen, Rougé, Satae.
Huddersfield: Connor, Swift, Marsters, Naiqama, Wallis; Lolohea, Clune; English, Milner, Greenwood, Murchie, Cudjoe, Yates (C). Int: Golding, Rushton, Ikahihifo, Salabio.

Catalans Dragons (6)
Tries: Matt Ikuvalu
Goals: Arthur Mourgue 1/1

Huddersfield Giants (34)
Tries: Kevin Naiqama, Adam Milner, Adam Swift, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Jake Connor, Esan Marsters
Goals: Jake Connor 5/7

Two sides with recent cup pedigree met in Saturday's second cup tie, with 2018 Challenge Cup winners, Catalans Dragons, meeting Huddersfield Giants, who were beaten by Wigan in the 2022 final. 

On league form, the Dragons came into the game as favourites, but it was the Giants who raced into an early lead through Jake Connor, who stole the show with 14 points, and inspired the Giants to a comfortable win.

Connor took in a smart inside pass from Adam Clune, before holding off two defenders to score after 15 minutes. Adam Milner then quickly added to Huddersfield's lead, in fortuitous circumstances. Tom Davies tried to clear Connor's kick to the corner with his boot, but only succeeded in scuffing the ball back into the centre of the field. Milner was quickest to react, scooping up the loose ball to score under the posts.  Connor added the two points to give the Giants a 10-0 lead after 22 minutes.

Huddersfield did not have to wait long to extend their lead, against an unusually subdued Dragons side. Tui Lolohea showed great vision to cut out the right edge of the Catalans defence, finding winger Adam Swift with a brilliant pass for a walk-in try in the corner, with Connor kicking the conversion to make it 16-0 after 28 minutes, with no further score before half time.

And it was the Giants who opened the scoring in the second half, through prop Sebastine Ikahihifo. The influential Connor hoisted a kick high into the air, which Tom Davies failed to deal with, dropping the ball into the grateful arms of Ikahihifo who ran 20 metres to score.  Connor's conversion extended their lead to 22-0.

Esan Marsters showed great strength to score the Giants' next try, capitalising on some weak defending from the base of a scrum 10 metres out, holding off four Catalans defenders to score after 49 minutes.

Matt Ikuvalu got on the scoresheet for Les Dracs, to ensure they avoided being nilled. Tom Davies launched a speculative kick towards the posts on the last tackle, which Huddersfield failed to deal with. The ball was picked up by Chris Satae, who passed to Ikuvalu to score. Mourgue added the extras to reduce the deficit to 26-6.

Connor added a penalty after 60 minutes, before the Giants rounded off a handsome victory through Kevin Naiqama, after Arthur Romano and Elliot Wallis were both sin binned. Jack Murchie found Naiqama 10 metres out. Naiqama stepped inside two covering defenders to score the final try of the game, with Connor adding the conversion to make the final score 34-6.

Castleford Tigers 6 Wigan Warriors 60
Venue: The Jungle, Castleford

Date: Sun, 14th April.   Kickoff: 3:00 PM.   Halftime: Wigan 28-6.   Penalties: Wigan 7-3.   Referee: Liam Moore.   Crowd: 4,097.

Castleford: Broadbent, Hodson, Tasipale, Wood, Senior; Richardson, Miller; Johnson, Horne, Kibula, Mellor, El-Zakhem, Westerman (C). Int: Namo, Robb, Martin, Hindmarsh.
Wigan: Field, Miski, Keighran, Wardle, Marshall; French, Smith; Thompson, O'Neill, Dupree, Isa, Farrell (C), Ellis. Int: Mago, Leeming, Hill, Nsemba.

Castleford Tigers (6)
Tries: Innes Senior
Goals: Daniel Richardson 1/1

Wigan Warriors (60)
Tries: Liam Marshall 4, Abbas Miski 2, Kruise Leeming, Jacob Wardle, Bevan French, Adam Keighran, Tyler Dupree, Bradley O'Neill
Goals: Harry Smith 6/12

Castleford Tigers, fresh off their first league win of the season, entertained Wigan Warriors in Sunday's first Challenge Cup quarter final.

Wigan are among the favourites to lift the cup and made short work of Castleford in a dominant display, which featured four tries for in-form winger Liam Marshall. 

Wigan opened the scoring after four minutes, their first of twelve tries in the game, with Jake Wardle releasing Liam Marshall to dive in to score in the corner, with Harry Smith missing the conversion. Wigan scored their second try straight from the restart, after a break from Brad O'Neill got Wigan near the line. The ball was played out to Adam Keighran, who passed back to O'Neill to score under the posts after 8 minutes, with Smith on target with the conversion. 

Bevan French scored Wigan's third try, picking the pocket of the Castleford defender who had caught French's kick, stealing the ball in a one-on-one tackle and touching down. After 18 minutes, Liam Marshall scored again, registering his 150th career try, getting on the end of a Jake Wardle break to score under the posts, with Smith converting to make the score 22-0.

A try saving tackle from Bevan French denied the first Tigers score of the night, but they were not denied when Innes Senior touched down before half time, after collecting a kick through from Jack Broadbent, with Danny Richardson adding the extras off the post to make it 28-6 at half time. 

But there was never a realistic possibility of Castleford forcing their way back into the game, and Wigan struck first in the second half through Abbas Miski, who collected a long, spiralling pass to the right edge to score in the corner. Soon after, Kruise Leeming was over for the next score, after Junior Nsemba broke the line and released the hooker to dive over, with Smith's conversion extending Wigan's lead to 38-6.

Liam Marshall completed his hat-trick, cutting inside from his wing to evade the defence and showed good strength to get the ball down. He then scored his fourth try of the night after 57 minutes, taking in a pass from Bevan French to take the score to 46-6.

Jake Wardle got a well deserved try in the 65th minute, breaking through the defensive line before sprinting away to score unopposed. An acrobatic finish from Abbas Miski in the right-hand corner, before forward Tyler Dupree scored the last try of the game, crossing under the posts late in the game. Harry Smith converted the final try to round off the scoring, completing a 60-6 win for Wigan and setting up a semi-final tie against Hull KR.

St Helens 8 Warrington Wolves 31
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens

Date: Sun, 14th April.   Kickoff: 4:30 PM.   Halftime: Warrington 7-6.   Penalties: Warrington 5-3.   Referee: Jack Smith.   Crowd: 11,280.

St Helens: Welsby, Makinson, Hurrell, Blake, Bennison; Lomax (C), Dodd; Walmsley, Clark, Delaney, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles. Int: Mata'utia, Mbye, Bell, Whitley.
Warrington: Dufty, Thewlis, King, Wrench, Ashton; Williams (C), Hayes; Harrison, Walker, Philbin, Nicholson, Fitzgibbon, Crowther. Int: Bullock, Holroyd, Powell, Wood.

St Helens (8)
Tries: Konrad Hurrell
Goals: Jon Bennison 2/2

Warrington Wolves (31)
Tries: George Williams, James Harrison, Matthew Ashton, Josh Thewlis, Connor Wrench
Goals: Josh Thewlis 5/6
Field Goals: George Williams 1

St Helens hosted Warrington Wolves in the blue riband tie of the quarters, as two of the early Super League pace setters met in the cup.

The game did not disappoint, living up to pre-game expectations as the two sides produced a cup classic at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Warrington took an early lead, through Josh Thewlis in the 10th minute, capitalising on their early chances. Having forced two dropouts in a row to build the pressure, Warrington spread the ball from left to right, with Matt Dufty finding winger Josh Thewlis to open the scoring, with the kick missed to give the Wire an early 4-0 lead.

However, Saints were not behind for long, as they levelled through Konrad Hurrell after the Warrington defence let a Jonny Lomax kick bounce. Joe Bachelor picked up the loose ball, before finding Hurrell to touch down and level the scores. Joe Bennison kicked the conversion to give Saints a 6-4 lead.

Saints threatened to extend their lead in the 31st minute, after Tommy Makinson had a diving effort ruled out for a forward pass, after an offload from Hurrell when surrounded by four defenders. George Williams then saved what appeared to be a certain Saints try, stopping Lewis Dodd on the last. 

Despite the Saints pressure, it was Warrington who went into half time with a lead. First, after Curtis Sironen tackled Williams off the ball, Josh Thewlis kicked a penalty from 30 metres to level the scores. Then George Williams showed all of his big game experience, dropping a goal on the stroke of half time to give Warrington a slender 7-6 lead. 

The second half started at an electric, chaotic pace, with Warrington attempting to throw the ball around to find a way through the resolute Saints defence. But the lead changed hands again after 52 minutes, with Warrington penalised for offside, and Bennison kicking the penalty to put Saints back on top.

Warrington struck back almost immediately, through a world class finish from Matty Ashton. An error from Jonny Lomax, who misjudged the kick off to give Warrington the ball from a goal line drop out. Warrington worked the ball wide to Ashton, who dived into the corner at full speed, defying the laws of physics, reaching an arm out behind his body in mid-air to touch down in the corner, despite the attention of Jack Welsby. Thewlis kicked from out wide to put Warrington 5 points ahead.

Warrington extended their lead in the 61st minute, with Wiliams' influence on the game growing. The England captain kicked through, and Connor Wrench collected to score near the posts. Thewlis made no mistake with the conversion to put Warrington 19-8 up, with daylight between the two sides for the first time. 

Matty Ashton was denied another spectacular solo try, after knocking on his own kick through, but Warrington could not be stopped for long, with James Harrison crashing over from close range in the 68th minute, after influential forward Alex Walmsley limped off for St Helens. Thewlis kicked his fourth goal of the night to give Warrington a 17-point lead, and effectively kill off any hopes of a Saints comeback.  

George Williams added the cherry on top of an excellent individual performance with a try under the sticks straight from the restart. After Saints failed to collect a short kick off, Warrington who worked the ball to Dufty, who broke the line. An ankle tap on Dufty broke his momentum with the line begging, so he smartly offloaded to Williams before he fell, allowing Williams to score a simple try. Thewlis added the conversion to make the score 31-8.

At this point, the game was threatening to turn into a rout, as Saints failed with another short kick off to give Warrington another easy penalty. But Saints held out, with neither side adding to the score, and Warrington completed the win in a scintillating cup tie. The reward for their victory is a semi-final against Huddersfield.

Related: click here for full 2024 Betfred Men's and Women's Challenge Cup draws, results, fixtures and more.