Challenge Cup: Warrington Wolves 34-24 Leigh Centurions

By Phil CartwrightBBC Sport
Challenge Cup: Five best tries as Warrington beat Leigh
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final
Warrington Wolves (12) 34
Tries: Sims, Currie 2, Penny 2, King Goals: O'Brien 4, Westwood
Leigh Centurions (14) 24
Tries: Worthington, Brierley 2, McNally, Armstrong Goals: Ridyard 2

Super League side Warrington Wolves reached the Challenge Cup semi-finals but were severely tested by Championship leaders Leigh Centurions.

Leigh, who defeated top-flight sides Salford and Wakefield in the previous two rounds, led 14-12 at half-time.

But Kevin Penny's brace of tries shortly after the interval, the second a wonderful acrobatic finish, turned the match in Warrington's favour.

The Wolves are into the last four for the sixth time in seven years.

Leigh, the only team from outside the top tier to reach the last eight, have genuine ambitions of winning promotion to Super League later this year and Paul Rowley's side proved their quality with three excellent tries as they edged a tight first 40 minutes.

They conceded first, as they had in the wins over Salford and Wakefield, but Ashton Sims' close-range effort was soon cancelled out when centre Greg Worthington touched down Ryan Brierley's grubber kick.

Ashton Sims
Fiji international Ashton Sims scored the first of Warrington's six tries against Leigh

After Ben Currie had profited from Ben Harrison's ball steal to restore Warrington's advantage, the visitors responded once more through Brierley, who sprinted from inside his own half to score his 22nd try of the season.

Gregg McNally collected Liam Kay's measured kick to put Leigh ahead for the first time, although their momentum was checked by a lengthy stoppage while Wolves' James Laithwaite received treatment for a fractured fibula.

Warrington started the second half in clinical fashion, as winger Penny finished off Stefan Ratchford's mazy run immediately after the break and his sensational second in the corner forged an eight-point advantage.

Warrington's Ashton Sims uses in-game microphone v Leigh

The hosts had Gareth O'Brien yellow-carded for a professional foul but George King's try, converted by Ben Westwood, made it 16 points without reply.

Brierley's second try gave Leigh hope but second-rower Currie added his second to confirm Tony Smith's men would progress, despite Tom Armstrong's late consolation.

Warrington join Hull KR and holders Leeds Rhinos in the semi-final draw, while either St Helens or Widnes will fill the remaining last-four spot on Sunday.

Analysis: Brian Noble, ex-Great Britain coach and BBC Sport pundit
"It was a hell of a game and I'm glad I recorded it so I can watch it again. There were some special moments and sublime skill throughout the game. At the start of the second half, Leigh were shocked by the intensity of Warrington's start. Three quick scores and it was pretty much too hard for Leigh from there on in."

Warrington forward Ben Westwood told BBC Sport:

"We were poor in the first half, a little bit soft, but we had a good chat and we blew them away in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

"Credit to Leigh, they're a great outfit, they never give up until the end. We made it tough but we're glad we got a win and we're glad to be in the semi-final.

"We've had a bit of success in the Challenge Cup but we've missed out in the last couple of years in the semi-finals. This year, we really want to push forward, get to that final and have a good crack at it."

Leigh coach Paul Rowley told BBC Sport:

"We didn't want to be gallant losers, we wanted to win the game.

"We gave Warrington an awful lot today, but I'm proud of the players. The effort was there, we've shown we can score tries and play good rugby.

"We learn each and every week and we've done it again today. We gave it our best shot and the best team won on the day, but only just."

Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Ormsby, Laithwaite, Atkins, Penny; O'Brien, Myler; Hill, Clark, Sims, Westwood, Currie, Harrison.

Replacements: Dwyer, Asotasi, Philbin, King.

Sin Bin: O'Brien (48).

Leigh Centurions: McNally; Pownall, Worthington, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Wilkes, Beswick, Hock, Dixon, Goulden, Emmitt.

Replacements: Higson, Hopkins, Moimoi, Spencer.

Referee: Richard Silverwood

Attendance: 10,119

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