Saints pack make up for absent dream team

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St Helens 46 Halifax 18

St Helens will soon, they hope and believe, be able to field a threequarter line capable of terrorising the very best.

For yesterday's Regal Trophy quarter-final, with Paul Newlove cup-tied, Alan Hunte still out injured and Anthony Sullivan limping off in the early stages, they had only one member of that dream team in action.

For once, the onus fell on their forwards and they responded magnificently. Six of Saints' eight tries came from backs, notably a couple each from the youngsters on the wings, Danny Arnold and Joey Hayes, but the platform was built in the pack.

Chris Joynt has been playing superbly since the World Cup, but he was at least matched for power, mobility and the ability to keep the ball alive by Apollo Perelini, while Dean Busby had his best game since arriving from Hull and Keiron Cunningham was a constant threat from dummy half.

Halifax led early, through a try from Mike Umaga, but once St Helens got on a roll there was only one team heading for the semi-finals.

Perelini set up Saints' first try with a storming break and passed to Busby, who sent in Andy Northey. Cunningham's diagonal run paved the way for Scott Gibbs to score and then Arnold went in for his first.

Under an eerily magenta sky, Saints' purple patch spanned either side of the interval, Cunningham went in from a pass by Bobbie Goulding, who finished with seven goals, and put in one of his glorious cross-field kicks for Arnold's second.

Perelini was just too strong to be stopped for Saints' sixth try, although Halifax got some late consolation with tries from Umaga and Simon Baldwin.

In among those, however, Hayes made his mark on the proceedings, capitalising on Northey's run for one try and winning the race to another precise Goulding kick for his second.

There was a further blow for Halifax with the news that John Bentley has broke his cheekbone.

St Helens: Prescott; Hayes, Northey, Gibbs, Sullivan (Arnold, 12); Hammond, Goulding; Perelini, Cunningham, Pickavance, Joynt, Matautia (Morley, 26), Busby.

Halifax: Umaga; Bentley (Rowley, 22), Amone, Anderson, Tuilagi; Dean, Parker; Harrison, Southernwood, Fieldhouse, Moriarty (Baldwin, 6), Jackson, Gillespie.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).