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Challenge Cup Final: Wolves beaten at Wembley

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WARRINGTON Wolves suffered Wembley heartbreak for the second time in three years as they were beaten 20-14 by Catalans Dragons.

Steve Price’s men left themselves with too much to do in the final half hour as they trailed 20-6 to the Dragons who held on to become the first ever French winners of the famous old trophy.

The Wolves, who lost 12-10 to Hull in the 2016 final, fell behind inside two minutes as former Wigan winger Lewis Tierney crossed in the corner.

Josh Drinkwater then added a penalty to his conversion to put the French side 8-0 to the good, before Tom Lineham had a try ruled off by the video referee.

Warrington eventually got on the board on the half hour mark, Ben Murdoch-Masila pouncing on a mistake by Fouad Yaha to score their opening try.

But the Dragons restored their eight point lead at the break, Ben Garcia’s converted score putting them 14-6 to the good.

The first score of the second half would be crucial and it went to Catalans. Lance Todd Trophy winner Tony Gigot kicked a 40/20 to give them good field position, and from that Brayden Wiliame crossed to extend their lead to 20-6.

A Gigot fumbled allowed Tyrone Roberts to set up George King to drag the Wolves back in to it at 20-12 before the hour mark, but despite their efforts they couldn’t break the Dragons down.

A Roberts penalty on 70 minutes at least got them within touching distance, but the Dragons held on for a famous victory in front of 50,672 – the lowest crowd at Wembley for a rugby league cup final since the second world war.

But few will begrudge Catalans their historic day as the challenge cup left English soil for the first time in its 121 year history.

Meanwhile Warrington must lick their wounds and bounce back quickly as they prepare for Thursday’s Super 8s clash with Hull FC,

“That’s going to be a good challenge for us,” said head coach, Steve Price, who reflected on the cup final defeat saying. “It wasn’t our best performance but look, credit to Catalans. It’s gut-wrenching to lose a final.”

Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Tierney, Mead, Wiliame, Yaha; Langi, Drinkwater; Simon, McIlorum, Moa, Jullien, Garcia, Casty. SubsBousquet, Baiteri, Goudemand, Edwards.

Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley; Brown, Roberts; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood. Subs: Murdoch-Masila, King, Patton, Philbin.

Pictures Eddie Whitham

Editor Gary Skentelbery meets some neutrals in the crowd!

FOR A GALLERY OF PICTURES CLICK HERE

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About Author

Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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