Ruthless Nero lays waste to Leigh's cup dreams

Bradford 58 Leigh 16
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Leigh, flying high in the Championship, failed to bridge the gap to Super League as they were put firmly in their place in this Challenge Cup fifth-round tie last night.

Coached once more by the talismanic Ian Millward, such an adversary of the Bulls in his time at St Helens, they made too poor a start to ever have a chance of joining Barrow as this season's giant-killers. A hat-trick of tries from the Australian centre Chris Nero was the highlight as Bradford made sure there would be no shock.

Robbie Paul's return to Bradford did not involve him facing his successor as the Bulls' half-back, because Matt Orford was ruled out by a shoulder injury. Any theory that his absence might critically weaken them was undermined by three converted tries in the first 13 minutes.

The Bulls started on the attack and it was in an attempt to lift the siege that Steve Maden went for and missed the interception to allow Nero to stroll in.

Brett Kearney then made the best break of the first half, with Paul Sykes eventually touching down.

Another attempted interception, this time by Martin Ridyard, opened the gate for Steve Menzies to score Bradford's third, improved by Sykes. Leigh's addiction to the interception finally yielded a reward when Ridyard picked off a Michael Worrincy pass to go 50 metres for a try. That woke up Bradford sufficiently for Kearney to scoop up a loose ball near the Leigh line and go over.

Worrincy got over at the start of the second half, with Sykes continuing his accurate goal-kicking. Leigh were opened up again by Sykes' looping pass to give Nero his second try. Rikki Sheriffe's dash down the right wing then set up Menzies.

Nero sidestepped through a tiring defence to complete his hat-trick before serving one up on a plate for Wayne Godwin.

Stuart Donlan and Dave Armitstead got a couple back for the visitors, who had never given up but were ultimately outclassed, conceding again to Glenn Hall in between.

Bradford Halley; Sheriffe, Menzies, Nero, Reardon; Sykes, Kearney; Scruton, L'Estrange, Lynch, Whitehead, Worrincy, Hall. Substitutes used Donaldson, Godwin, Platt, Kopczak.

Leigh Donlan; Maden, Leuluai, Nanyn, Stanton; Ridyard, Paul; Hill, McConnell, Bibey, Goulden, Taylor, Armitstead. Substitutes used Durbin, Morrison, Mort, Meekin.

Referee T Alibert (France).