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Leeds Rhinos 0-22 St Helens: Saints secure fourth-straight Women’s Challenge Cup triumph with Wembley win

Tries from Faye Gaskin, Phoebe Hook, Luci McColm and Chantelle Crowl saw St Helens triumph 22-0 over Leeds Rhinos at Wembley; Saints claimed the trophy for a record-equalling fourth year in a row, while the defeat marked Leeds’ third-straight loss in this final

Last Updated: 08/06/24 1:47pm

St Helens ensured the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup stayed in their hands for the fourth year in a row as they again denied Leeds Rhinos with a 22-0 victory at Wembley.

There was a cagey opening to the final, but two tries in the space of five minutes from Faye Gaskin and Phoebe Hook helped holders Saints into a 10-0 lead at half-time.

Luci McColm’s try five minutes into the second half made the Rhinos’ task even harder and they could not find a way to unlock the stubborn defence of their opponents, with Chantelle Crowl’s try nine minutes from time putting the seal on the win.

The victory saw St Helens equal the four Women’s Challenge Cups in a row won under their previous guise as Thatto Heath between 2013 and 2016, while for two-time winners Leeds it was their third defeat in this final in succession.

Story of the game

Both teams paid tribute to Rob Burrow CBE ahead of the final

Both teams paid tribute to Rob Burrow CBE ahead of the final

Prior to kick-off, both teams observed a minute’s silence in memory of Rob Burrow CBE following his death last Sunday after a four-and-a-half-year battle with MND, with players from both clubs wearing shirts bearing his name and No 7 in the warm-up and pre-game ceremonies.

When the final did get under way, it proved just as close-fought as the recent Betfred Women’s Super League game between the sides which saw St Helens triumph 12-6, although Leeds, aiming to lift the trophy for the first time since 2019, had the better of the opportunities early on.

St Helens’ defence held firm though and on the one occasion it was unlocked thanks to Hanna Butcher’s kick to Leeds’ left edge they were unable to capitalise after Liv Whithead was shown to have knocked on in the build-up, leading to the video referee upholding the on-field ‘no try’ call.

They were made to pay for not taking advantage in the 25th minute when St Helens kicked to touch from a penalty and set up an attack which led to scrum-half Gaskin taking a pass out of dummy-half and weaving through to finish from 10 metres out along with converting her own score.

Faye Gaskin got St Helens up and running with the opening try of the final

Faye Gaskin got St Helens up and running with the opening try of the final

Saints were in again five minutes later when Hook, a scorer in last year’s win over the Rhinos at Wembley as well, took a pass from Zoe Harris to finish wide on the right for an unconverted try.

Leading by 10 points at the break, St Helens surged further ahead five minutes into the second half after gaining a repeat set following Caitlin Beevers’ knock-on while trying to claim the ball from a kick.

This time it was worked from right to left, with Emily Rudge sending centre McColm through a gap to finish.

St Helens were in complete control after this and although Leeds had their moments, they could not find a way to break down the strong defence which has served Matty Smith’s side well in both league and cup so far in 2024.

The win was made certain in the 71st minute after Gaskin’s kick to the left had forced a goal-line drop-out. Prop Crowl ran a smart line to take an inside pass and squeeze over under the posts, with the try being awarded after a check for a possible obstruction by the video referee.

What’s next?

Leeds Rhinos are back in Betfred Women’s Super League action on Sunday, June 16 away to Huddersfield Giants. St Helens then travel to face the Rhinos in their next BWSL game on Saturday, July 6 (12.30pm).

Watch every match of the 2024 Betfred Super League season, including Magic Weekend, the play-offs, and men’s, women’s, and wheelchair Grand Finals, live on Sky Sports. Also stream with NOW.

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