Hull KR into Challenge Cup league quarters

Hull KR withstood a spirited fightback from Catalans Dragons to secure their first Challenge Cup semi-final as a Super League club.

The Robins romped to a 24-0 lead after 28 minutes, but the visitors found their spark to cut the deficit to just 10 points.

However, winger Ken Sio went over for his second try of the match and Josh Mantellato kicked six from seven to ease their side into Sunday’s last four with a 32-26 triumph, as they set their sights on adding to their solitary cup final success of 1980.

Catalans left themselves too much to do as their woeful away form continued, while the Rovers made it eight wins out of 10 at home in 2015.

Chris Chester’s in-form team were boosted by the return of Shaun Lunt and Dane Tilse from injury and both made key contributions.

The Dragons brought in youngster Stan Robin in the absence of injured halves Thomas Bosc and Todd Carney, who were sorely missed, and the Rovers also largely kept a tight rein on danger man Zeb Taia.

The visitors’ defence was exposed in the eighth minute when Sio took Kieran Dixon’s pass to outsprint Fouad Yaha for his 16th try in his first season with the club.

The Catalans could not handle the offloads of prop Adam Walker, who combined with fellow front-rower Tony Puletua on 16 minutes to get Dixon over for a second try – courtesy of a fortuitous ricochet – and, two minutes later, Mantellato outjumped fullback Morgan Escare to collect Blair’s high kick and send half Albert Kelly over.

A cut-out pass from substitute Lunt released Mantellato and second-rower Graeme Horne was on his inside to finish off the move for the home side’s fourth try.

Mantellato converted all four and put over a penalty on the stroke of halftime, while Catalans’ only response was a try six minutes before the break by winger Krisnan Inu, who touched down Elliott Whitehead’s grubber kick to the corner.

The French side improved in the second half, two tries in six minutes giving them a lifeline.

Taia forced his way over from a tapped penalty and Inu grabbed his second following a superb break and precision kick from centre Tony Gigot.

Scott Dureau added a conversion as the visitors cut the deficit to 26-14.

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