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“We’ve got to…” – Paul Wellens reacts as St Helens hammered at home

St Helens Paul Wellens

St Helens have just been knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Warrington Wolves in very resounding fashion with the Red Vee losing at home 31-8.

It could have been more as well with Warrington perhaps unlucky to see Matty Ashton have one of his incredible efforts ruled out with video referee Chris Kendall unable to find enough evidence to overturn the on-field ‘no try’ decision.

That didn’t matter in the end anyway because Warrington ran in four second-half tries to cement their place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals and hand St Helens another loss.

Saints had lost to Catalans in Perpignan last week and that gruelling defeat maybe paid punishment once again with the Red Vee folding in the second forty.

Trailing just 7-6 at the break, Paul Wellens’ side only managed two points in the second half and shipped a whopping 24, all of which were unanswered too.

Josh Thewlis’ early score was cancelled out by Konrad Hurrell before George Williams’ drop-goal split the teams at the break. Saints took the points on offer with a Jon Bennison penalty restoring the lead but from that point onwards it was all one way.

Matty Ashton, Connor Wrench, James Harrison and Man of the Match George Williams all scored to send Sam Burgess’ side into the sem-finals, whist Saints were sent packing and back to the drawing board.

Despite a strong start to the 2024 season that has seen them end rivals Wigan’s unbeaten run, there will be concerns from some fans over the team’s inability to score points.

How did Paul Wellens react to St Helens’ loss?

St Helens

Credit: Imago Images

The nature of the defeat is what will be most concerning for St Helens’ fans with the first half representing a classic Challenge Cup tie between two top teams, each side trading blow after blow.

However, the second half saw Warrington take control and run amok with St Helens rarely getting any sets in the Wire half of the field.

Paul Wellens spoke to BBC on their live coverage immediately after the game with his first reaction summing up the afternoon for Saints’ fans.

“Yeah, disappointed,” Wellens answered when asked to surmise.

He continued: “Obviously there was a big prize at stake with it being the Challenge Cup quarter-final, a big derby game too and I just don’t think we quite got it right today in many aspects.

“We’ve got to learn some lessons very quickly.”

The prize at stake was a semi-final against Huddersfield Giants with the draw having been made at half-time during the game against Warrington Wolves, but instead, Saints will now focus on Super League.

Their next game comes at home to struggling Hull FC and could prove as a ‘get-right’ game in which Wellens’ side might be able to rediscover their confidence and try-scoring knack.

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