Catalan Dragons 13 Hull FC 24: Gentle praises defence as Hull maintain their Challenge

Peter Gentle hailed the efforts of his forwards after Hull FC booked their place in the semi-finals in humid conditions in the south of France on Saturday.

Peter Gentle

Hull will now meet holders Warrington Wolves on the weekend of July 27/28, while the winners of tonight’s match between Wigan and Widnes face London Broncos.

Shannon McDonnell scored twice as Hull booked their first Challenge Cup semi-final in five years with Tom Lineham and Tom Briscoe also crossing. Joe Westerman and Danny Tickle also scored two goals apiece.

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“I’m pretty pleased to be sat here the winner to be honest with you. Those were really trying conditions out there, they really were horrendous and the game was played at a snail’s pace at times,” said Hull coach Gentle.

“Gareth Ellis, Joe Westerman and Danny Houghton played their hearts out for us, for Houghton to put in an 80-minute performance like that in those conditions is a pretty special effort.

“Our try line defence was superb and held up pretty well to almost everything they threw at us.”

Eloi Pelissier and Morgan Escare scored for the Dragons with Scott Dureau adding two conversions and a drop goal, as Hull pulled away from their 8-7 half-time lead to secure victory.

Damien Blanch had a try ruled out for the hosts as Escare was ruled to be offside in the opening minutes. That was before McDonnell’s try after some good build-up work by Aaron Heremaia and Jacob Miller. Westerman added the conversion.

On the half-hour mark, Catalan were level as Pelissier scored a solo effort to mark his entrance to the game. Dureau added the goal to level the scores before he gave Catalan the lead with a drop goal four minutes before the break.

Hull bounced back and Tickle kicked a penalty from 10 metres after Jamal Fakir held on in the tackle too long. After the break, Catalan retook the lead through Escare. Dureau converted.

Three minutes later, McDonnell held up defenders just enough to send in Lineham in the right corner. Tickle missed the conversion.

With 15 minutes remaining, Houghton offloaded to the supporting Briscoe, who went over after stepping Escare with ease. Tickle added the conversion.

Catalans threw everything at Hull but Kirk Yeaman broke clear and drew the covering Escare. McDonnell offered his support and scored to the left of the posts to seal the win and send the travelling Hull fans into raptures.

Tickle added the conversion to add the icing to the cake.

Catalan Dragons: Escare; Vaccari, Duport, Millard, Blanch; Pryce, Dureau; Simon, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Taia, Mounis. Replacements: Pelissier, Larroyer, Fakir, Paea.

Hull FC: McDonnell; Lineham, Crooks, Yeaman, T Briscoe; Heremaia, Miller; O’Meley, Houghton, Green, Ellis, Westerman, Galea. Replacements: Lynch, Tickle, Whiting, Watts.

Referee: R Silverwood (RFL).