Challenge Cup semi-final: St Helens 16-35 Catalans Dragons

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Garcia scores his second try against St Helens
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final
St Helens (0) 16
Tries: Percival 2, McCarthy-Scarsbrook Goals: Richardson 2
Catalans Dragons (27) 35
Tries: Tierney, Garcia 2, Gigot, Moa Goals: Drinkwater 7 Drop-goal: Gigot

Catalans Dragons pulled off a stunning win over runaway Super League leaders St Helens to reach the Challenge Cup final for only the second time in their history.

The French side went 27-0 up in a frantic first half, with Lewis Tierney running in at the corner to open Catalans' try-scoring account after Josh Drinkwater's early penalty.

Ben Garcia scored two tries either side of Tony Gigot's score as Catalans opened up an unassailable lead.

Mark Percival and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook gave St Helens hope but Sam Moa's try wrapped up a sensational win for Catalans, who will play either Warrington or Leeds at Wembley on 25 August.

Catalans' shock win means they will appear in the final for the first time since their 30-8 defeat by Saints in 2007.

Saints' defeat in Bolton means they have fallen at the penultimate hurdle of the competition for the fifth time since their last final appearance in 2008.

Catalans, who are coached by ex-England boss Steve McNamara, ended Saints' chase of a domestic treble in 2018. However, Justin Holbrook's side have a formidable lead at the top of Super League and are strong favourites to lift the League Leaders' Shield.

Catalans' win underlines their change in fortunes in 2018, having initially started the campaign poorly. Their Super League form improved, however, as they sealed a place in the top eight with an outside shot of a play-off spot.

Few would have said they would beat Saints in quite the fashion they did on a scorching day in Greater Manchester, but they did, and with gusto.

Saints' first half to forget

Saints came close to bridging an eight-point gap soon after Tierney crossed, but Gigot and Garcia combined to halt James Roby's run to the try-line.

St Helens' frustrations showed before half-time, as Morgan Knowles caught Kenny Edwards with a shot to the neck and was sent to the sin-bin.

Catalans took full advantage of their extra man as Garcia and Gigot both crossed over to open up a sizeable lead on their opponents by half-time.

Saints' talisman, Australian full-back Ben Barba, had an uncharacteristically quiet match, and they left their comeback too late.

St Helens: Barba; Swift, Makinson, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Amor, Roby, Thompson, Knowles, Taia, Wilkin.

Interchanges: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Lees.

Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Tierney, Mead, Wiliame, Yaha; Langi, Drinkwater; Simon, McIlorum, Moa, Jullien, Garcia, Casty.

Interchanges: Bousquet, Anderson, Edwards, Baitieri.

Referee: Robert Hicks

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