Challenge Cup semi-final - Coach Brett Hodgson insists Hull will be wiser for league loss to Saints

IT WILL be a wiser Hull FC side who face St Helens, for the second successive week, in the opening game of Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final double-header at Leigh.

Coach Brett Hodgson says Hull FC will have to 'wise up' to beat St Helens in Saturday's Challenge Cup semi-final. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Hull upset Wigan Warriors in a Cup quarter-final last month, a week after losing to them in Super League.

A quirk of the semi-final draw again handed them back-to-back matches against the same opposition and, for the second-successive round, Hull will go into the Cup tie on the back of a league defeat.

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Having reversed the previous game’s result once, against one of the country’s most in-form teams, Hull’s coach Brett Hodgson is confident they can turn the tables on St Helens this weekend, following the 34-16 league setback eight days earlier.

Hull FC coach Brett Hodgson delivered a man-of-the-match performance prior to lifting the Challenge Cup as a player for Warrington in 2012. Picture: Matthew Impey/PA Wire.

“We have touched on that slightly, the fact we did experience playing the same team twice in a row about a month ago,” Hodgson confirmed.

“Ultimately, learning from what we did against St Helens leading into this game against them again is good for us.

“It is important we learn from what we did last weekend, or better yet, what we weren’t able to achieve and make sure we improve this weekend.”

St Helens were always in control of last Friday’s meeting, scoring the first of their six tries after just two minutes and taking a 22-4 lead into half-time.

Other than Joe Cator (calf strain), Hull FC report a clean bill of health going into Saturday's Challenge Cup semi-final with St Helens. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

Hodgson, who won the Challenge Cup as a player with Warrington Wolves nine years ago, insisted: “I think there were a number of reasons why we weren’t at our best.

“None of those are excuses, but we have looked at how we were in particular at the start of the game; we were well off in terms of our intent.

“St Helens really started quickly and we weren’t able to control that.

“Effectively, the game was lost in the first 15 minutes.

“We are expecting more of that from them at the weekend and we need to be better.”

There is a huge prize at stake this week and Hodgson stressed: “St Helens are going to be up for it and we need to be.

“It is such a great, historic competition and we want to be there at Wembley.

“In order to do that, we need to improve.”

Hull will be without loose-forward Joe Cator who suffered a calf injury during last week’s game, but Hodgson said they otherwise got through with a clean bill of health.

“Hopefully it is not too bad but, unfortunately, Joe will miss this weekend,” Hodgson confirmed.