Challenge Cup: Leeds Rhinos 24-16 Warrington Wolves
|Leeds Rhinos (14) 24|
|Tries: Hall (2), Moon, Briscoe Goals: Sinfield (4)|
|Warrington Wolves (0) 16|
|Tries: Bridge, Ratchford, Westwood Goals: Bridge (2)|
Two tries from Ryan Hall helped Leeds Rhinos to a Challenge Cup semi-final win over Warrington Wolves.
The winger scored twice in the first half as Leeds established a 14-0 lead before the interval.
Chris Bridge, Stefan Ratchford and Ben Westwood then crossed for the Wolves, but tries by Joel Moon and Tom Briscoe proved enough for the Rhinos.
Leeds will now play at Wembley on 23 August against the winner of Sunday's match between Widnes and Castleford.
The Rhinos, beaten by the Wolves in 2011 and 2012 Challenge Cup finals, will now travel to London looking to end a run of six successive defeats in the final.
They last lifted the trophy at the old Wembley Stadium in 1999.
Returning Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield, who missed the last two games through suspension, kicked the first points of an exciting contest with just two minutes on the clock after Warrington were penalised for obstruction.
The Wire then spent the best part of 10 minutes desperately defending their own try-line, Carl Ablett and Jamie Jones-Buchanan both falling just short.
Warrington grew into the contest but their early exertions in defence told as they conceded possession too easily on a number of occasions.
Brian McDermott's side eventually made their pressure tell when Hall fended off Joel Monaghan to touch down in the corner after 25 minutes. The try was eventually awarded after consultation with the video referee and Sinfield landed the extras to make it 8-0.
Hall grabbed his second try of the day when he latched on to Danny McGuire's long pass after Zak Hardaker's fantastic run from his own line gave Leeds excellent field position.
Sinfield was again flawless with the kick and Warrington, who had chances after Hall's first score, found themselves 14-0 down at the interval.
Tony Smith's side started the second half with real intent and got themselves on the scoreboard when Chris Bridge scampered in after Joel Monaghan got up well to Richie Myler's high kick.
The try breathed new life in to the Wire and they pressed on in search of another score to close the gap.
The Rhinos stood up to the pressure and came up with a score of their own when Moon crossed after a speedy breakaway from Rob Burrow.
Warrington would not go away and they touched down their second try of the day through Ratchford after a good offload from Westwood. Bridge kicked the extras to leave Leeds 18-10 in front going in to the last 20 minutes.
Needing two tries the Wolves started taking risks and a handling error on the halfway line all but gave the game to Leeds.
Briscoe picked the ball up to race away from Rhys Evans and cross under the posts and Sinfield's kick put the Rhinos 14 points in front with just over 10 minutes to play.
Westwood cut the deficit with a try from close in after a mix-up in the Leeds defence but there was not enough time for the Wolves to force another score as the Rhinos held out.
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott:
"It was a very good start from us.
"We were fortunate that Warrington had a couple of challenges on our line that didn't come off - that helped us. But the players executed our plan really well in that first period.
"We needed that buffer at half-time because we knew what Warrington could do."
Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith:
"We probably lost some momentum from the way we'd have liked to have started.
"We applied ourselves enormously in defence, but you can't give a team like the Rhinos that sort of ball in that sort of field position.
"We were 14-0 down and we only had the ball in their half a couple of times, but we looked dangerous when we did. It was the back end of the first half when we got into a position to threaten them.
"It was pleasing that we didn't concede more points, but I'm disappointed we attacked like we did. We looked a bit forced at times."
Leeds: Hardaker, T. Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Ablett, Delaney, Jones-Buchanan, Aiton, Kirke.
Replacements: Kirke for Leuluai (16), Aiton for Jones-Buchanan (30), Bailey for Aiton (49), Leuluai for Kirke (37).
Warrington: Russell, J. Monaghan, Atkins, C. Bridge, R. Evans, Ratchford, Myler, Hill, M. Monaghan, England, Waterhouse, Westwood, Harrison, Harrison.
Replacements: Wood for England (20), Grix for Harrison (26), Asotasi for Harrison (31).
Ref: Phil Bentham (Blackpool).