Yates' verdict: Gloom in France for St Helens but cup joy for the women

Saints were hoping to jet home from the south of France on cloud nine but instead found themselves gloomily reflecting on their first Betfred Super League defeat of the season and losing the leadership of the table to arch-rivals Wigan Warriors.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 9:07 am
Updated Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 9:10 am
St Helens women celebrate their Challenge Cup semi-final win over Leeds. Picture: SWPIx

They came crashing down to earth against current title rivals Catalans Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus last night (Saturday) and will have to pick themselves up quickly ahead of some tough matches which are looming on the horizon.

It was without question their poorest performance of the 2012 campaign - even though they didn't get their fair share of what appeared 50-50 decisions from the referee.

At the same time, they were guilty of committing a plethora of basic handling errors which stifled most attempts to produce a more expansive style of play.

Neither was it a game for the connoisseurs and not helped by too many stoppages but Saints can have no complaints about the 20-16 setback.

The defending champions didn't find their feet until the late stages and by then the outcome had more or less been decided in the Dragons' favour.

WHAT a great advertisement for women's rugby league - and thanks to the BBC TV for relaying it live country-wide via the red button.

That's my feelings after watching Saints reach the final of the Betfred Challenge Cup at the expense of holders Leeds Rhinos yesterday (Saturday).

Even though I have been watching men's Rugby League for around four decades, I must confess I hadn't seen a game involving the fairer sex and what an eye-opening experience it was.

The semi-final rivals produced an epic encounter at York and at the same time boosted the image of what is a growing sport.

St Helens deserved their 20-12 victory and now take on York City Knights at Leigh on Saturday, June 5, as part of a triple header which involves the men's Challenge Cup semi-final games between St Helens and Hull FC and Warrington Wolves and Castleford Tigers.