Challenge Cup team of the week: St Helens and Wigan Warriors dominate as star performers just miss out

The Challenge Cup quarter-finals have been and gone and they were all superb games.

Hull KR’s strong second half blew Castleford away, St Helens proved too much for Catalans in a Grand Final rematch, Huddersfield and Hull FC served up a high intensity nerve-racker and Wigan’s class proved too much for Wakefield in the second 40 of their game.

But with so many exceptional performers this weekend, who makes the team of the week?

Fullback: Jai Field
Jai Field beat out stern competition for his place in the side. Tui Lolohea was the match winner for Huddersfield scoring the game clinching try and making a crucial try saving tackle at 16-12. But Field’s hattrick and general explosivity for Wigan especially in a difficult first half gives him the spot ahead of Lolohea and Jack Welsby who was also exceptional for St Helens.

Wingers: Lewis Murphy and Bevan French
Bevan French may not have grabbed the headlines like teammate Field today, but he was at times unstoppable for Wigan today such was his darting running game. His break led to Zak Hardaker’s decisive try and he also engineered Hardaker’s earlier break which led to a try for Ethan Havard. He’s joined by Lewis Murphy who also shone in the game scoring Wakefield’s only try with an acrobatic finish and coming up with a huge try saving tackle. He replaced Tom Johnstone expertly today.

Centres: Ricky Leutele and Mark Percival
Ricky Leutele was exceptional for Huddersfield. The powerful centre got the game’s opening try and he was always hard to handle when he received the ball. Meanwhile, Mark Percival was typically superb as St Helens defeated Catalans in the South of France. Not a performance that was headline worthy but he nailed every aspect of performance in the win.

Halfbacks: Rowan Milnes and Jonny Lomax
Wakefield’s Mason Lino very nearly figured in this side after his two 40/20s, but ultimately as Wakefield fell away he and the also impressive Lee Gaskell couldn’t turn things around. They both kicked well as did Rowan Milnes who kicked Castleford to death creating Elliot Minchella’s brace and scoring himself justifying Tony Smith’s decision to start him. He’s joined by St Helens’ Jonny Lomax who helped boss things for Super League Champions St Helens in France.

Props: Alex Walmsley and Chris Hill
Alex Walmsley showed his class in France too routinely running through the usually mean Catalans defence. His re-introduction at 26-16 allowed St Helens to put the game beyond doubt as he got them on the front foot again and again. He’s joined by Chris Hill who is the league’s in-form prop and maintained his form against Hull making metres galore and being a strong leader in the middle of the park.

Hooker: James Roby
Speaking of good leaders, James Roby was typically impeccable for St Helens in the middle and kept his side’s standards up leading by example. A quintessential Roby performance sees him in the side at nine.

Second-rowers: Liam Farrell and Joe Batchelor
Liam Farrell was given the Man of the Match in Wigan’s win over Wakefield and he deserved it. After masses of Wakefield pressure, his break led to the game’s first try for Field and he scored a try himself later to cap off a typically hard working performance. The same could be said of Joe Batchelor who completed his superb showing for St Helens with a try from a barnstorming run.

Loose-forward: Morgan Knowles
St Helens’ Man of the Match in France, he reminded everyone why he’s the best 13 in the league by dominating the middle channel. He sees off Elliot Minchella and Luke Yates who both played very well in their wins.

Substitutes: Patrick Mago, Ethan Harvard, Jordan Abdull, Joe Greenwood
Both Patrick Mago and Ethan Havard got Wigan ticking in the middle of the field when they came on and both made massive contributions. Havard’s try put them in front just before halftime and Mago’s offload led to a key second for Field. Jordan Abdull also came up with a huge play when coming off the bench scoring in Hull KR’s win over Castleford helping his side see off their opponents to secure a place in the final four. Meanwhile, Joe Greenwood was a tenacious force down the middle for Huddersfield when he came on continuing his side’s momentum and prompting coach Ian Watson to claim he was deserving to be considered for an England call-up.

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