Huddersfield 44 Salford 14: Giants stand tall after vintage Paul performance

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Robbie Paul has had some unforgettable afternoons in the Challenge Cup, but rarely one when his opponents have been so willing to stand back and admire his handiwork.

Paul, the first player to score a hat-trick at Wembley, touched down twice and set up three more as Huddersfield outplayed Salford in every facet of the game yesterday.

"Robbie's been fantastic - a great signing for us on and off the field," said coach Jon Sharp of the veteran of five finals with Bradford. "This was right up there with his best performances when you look at the influence he had on the tries."

Salford took the lead against the run of play through Aaron Moule, but had little else to celebrate for the rest of the afternoon, Paul selling the first of a series of outrageous dummies for Chris Nero to equalise.

Paul tricked his own way over for a lead Huddersfield were never to lose, although David Hodgson, the one Salford player to emerge with much credit, wrestled his way in to narrow the gap to two points.

It was in the three minutes before half-time that Salford completely lost the plot, conceding tries to Martin Aspinwall, on the end of a sweeping move, and Paul, from Brad Drew's kick.

There was no way back for a weary-looking Salford after the break, with another extravagant dummy from Paul giving Nero his second. Simon Finnigan's pass gave Hodgson the chance to show his pace for his second try, but the willingness to buy dummies found them out again, with Drew this time exploiting the gap.

Nero's crunching tackle on Andrew Dunemann won the possession from which Paul March scored a well-deserved try, but the Giants saved the best for last.

The irrepressible Paul started it by sending Wayne McDonald through, positioning himself for the return pass and presenting March with a second.

Huddersfield: Reilly; Aspinwall, Wild, De Vere, Donlan; March, Paul; Mason, Drew, Jackson, Nero, Raleigh, Jones. Substitutes used: Crabtree, Snitch, Smith, McDonald.

Salford: Fitzpatrick; Hodgson, Moule, Littler, Langi; Dunemann, Robinson; Rutgerson, Alker, Highton, Coley, Sibbit, Finnigan. Substitutes used: Brocklehurst, Charles, Haggerty, Myler.

Referee: A Klein (Keighley).

* Hull Kingston Rovers became the first National League club for 10 years to reach the Challenge Cup semi-finals yesterday, beating Warrington 40-36 in the most thrilling of ties at Craven Park. The winger, Byron Smith, was a major contributor as Rovers built up a 40-26 lead, and though Warrington narrowed the gap with tries from Henry Fa'afili and Michael Sullivan, the Robins hung on for a famous victory.