The Robins’ hopes of reaching the showpiece at Old Trafford next Saturday were dashed after League Leaders’ Shield winners Catalans Dragons inflicted a 28-10 semi-final defeat on them in Perpignan.
It is the French club, then, who push on for their historic first trip to Old Trafford just 15 years after joining the elite competition.
Rovers were error-strewn, especially in the first half, and Smith admitted: “We’re disappointed.
“It was well-deserved for Catalans; they outplayed us tonight and certainly kicked us to death.
“The first half just wasn't good enough. The score showed we were still in the game (Rovers trailed 12-4 at the break) but the skill level was not good enough to ask enough questions.
“We’ll remember this for next year and we’ll learn from it.”
Catalans coach Steve McNamara, who led the Dragons to a famous Challenge Cup win in 2018, is now just 80 minutes away from claiming the Super League title.
He watched as his side, missing the injured Sam Tomkins, picked the Robins apart in front of a sold-out, partisan home crowd that produced a brilliant atmosphere at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
“The occasion was amazing and there was a potential danger of getting caught up in all that expectation of the crowd,” said McNamara, who hails from Hull and helped begin Catalans’ transformation when they survived the looming threat of relegation by winning the Million Pound Game just four years ago.
“It was hard tonight, a really tough game. We didn’t really find our rhythm but we got enough points on the board to win.
“We’ve got to go there and win it now. It is massive - it’s an achievement - but it’s only historic if you go there and win it.”
Catalans will face the winners of tomorrow night’s semi-final between champions St Helens and Leeds Rhinos.