Laulu-Togagae double sends Eagles into quarter-finals

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Sheffield Eagles booked a place in the Challenge Cup 
quarter-finals with a clinical 28-12 win over of Yorkshire rivals Halifax.

Quentin Laulu-Togagae scored two tries as the Eagles made the last eight for the first time since they won the trophy in 1998.

Fax had plenty of possession but struggled to find a way through tough Sheffield defence after the home side had gone into an early two-try lead.

Key playmaker Scott Murrell was a shock absentee from the Halifax line-up with a hamstring problem.

Sheffield recalled Colton Roche for Salford Reds on-loan forward Ben Gledhill, who was not available.

Indiscipline set up the opening try for Sheffield on three minutes with Wayne Reitte conceding a penalty in front of the posts for talking back.

The ball was switched to the Eagles left with Andrew Henderson passing to Michael Knowles whose offload sent full-back Quentin Laulu-Togagae sweeping through a gap. Dominic Brambani added goal.

The restart was kicked directly out and the Eagles kept up the pressure.

This time the play was switched to the right with Brambani and Laulu-Togagae sending in centre Tom Armstrong at the corner.

Halifax came back with Tony Tonks putting in a couple good drives but kicks from Anthony Thacheray and then Paul Handforth were easily mopped up by the Eagles.

Sheffield were being pushed back but again a penalty gave them possession and only strong line defence kept out bustling centre Menzie Yere.

A Ben Heaton run set up position with Dane Manning held up as he tried to force his way over from dummy half on the last tackle.

Halifax dominated the final 20 minutes of the half but poor handling and rushed decisions cost them at critical moments.

Steve Tyrer got Halifax’s first points with penalty for a high tackle in the final seconds of the half to cut Sheffield’s lead to 10-2.

Halifax had a scare after the restart as a high cross-field kick seemed to get lost in the Don Valley gloom before bouncing dead.

Punches were thrown and Eagles captain Mitch Stringer was spoken to by referee Ben Thaler, but from the penalty Halifax again failed to take advantage.

The visitors’ problems mounted as a break and short pass by their former half-back Brambani sent Laulu-Togagae racing 60 metres to touch down under the posts. Brambani added the goal.

With the final 20 minutes approaching Luke Ambler was held up over the line but Halifax were gifted back the ball and Thackeray’s long pass sent Worrincy in at the corner. Tyrer’s kick hit the upright but went over.

Worrincy had options inside him after a break down the line but went on his own, tried a dummy but was tackled.

Instantly Eagles settled the game with a break from Alex Szostak sending winger Scott Turner over wide out. Brambani added the goal. Callum Casey went over for a consolation try from Thackeray’s pass but in the final minute Yere dived on Brambani’s grubber kick and the half-back kicked his fourth goal

Sheffield: Laulu-Togagae; Morrison, Yere, Armstrong, Taulapapa; Walker, Brambani; Battye, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Straugheir, Hirst. Substitutes: Davey, Szostak, Garside, Roche.

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Worrincy, Tyrer, Heaton, Reittie; Handforth, Thackeray; Tonks, Craig Ashall, Ambler, Manning, Divorty, Bracek. Substitutes: Paterson, Karl Ashall, Barlow, Casey.

Referee: B Thaler (RFL).