Hull FC 51-8 Catalans: Challenge Cup holders demolished by rampant hosts
Last Updated: 31/05/19 6:17am
Catalans Dragons' Coral Challenge Cup reign came to an abrupt end as Hull ran out comfortable 51-8 winners in their quarter-final clash at the KCOM Stadium.
The two sides have won the last three editions of the competition between them, but it was 2016 and 2017 winners Hull who raced into a 12-0 lead inside seven minutes.
Jake Connor and Bureta Faraimo crossed for the hosts but a quickfire brace from Lewis Tierney pulled Catalans back to a 12-8 half-time deficit.
Marc Sneyd, who kicked 19 points on the night, added an early second-half penalty before tries from Sika Manu and Ratu Naulago put Hull into a commanding 26-8 lead with 25 minutes to play.
And further scores from Albert Kelly, Naulago, Jamie Shaul and Danny Houghton deservedly cemented Hull's place in the last four at the University of Bolton Stadium on July 27.
Hull, who were hammered 55-2 against Huddersfield at last week's Magic Weekend, needed just five minutes to better their feeble showing at Anfield.
The hosts grabbed an early advantage when Sneyd's high kick was contested by Naulago and Catalans winger Fouad Yaha, but neither player could gather as Connor collected the loose ball to dot down.
Hull soon extended their lead to 12-0 when a sweeping move from right to left resulted in Sneyd playing a dubious, forward-looking cut-out pass for Faraimo to stroll through in the left corner.
However, the holders hit back to cut the deficit to 12-4 as they capitalised on back-to-back infringements from Hull, working their way down the right edge for Tierney to cross in the corner.
Catalans, who were the first non-British side to win the competition in its 121-year history last year, sliced through the Black and Whites' left edge once again for Tierney to grab his second try, but Sam Tomkins missed his second conversion and that is as good as it got for the French side.
Sneyd added a 30-metre penalty five minutes into the second half to move the hosts 14-8 in front before Manu crashed over to extend the lead to 12 points.
It got even better for Hull as the Dragons looked to have men over on the left edge but a stray Kenny Edwards offload was picked off by Connor on his own 10-metre line to race clear before handing to Naulago to cross.
Kelly produced a fine dummy and step to slice through the Catalans' defence for another straightforward try before Sneyd added a drop goal to kill off any hope of a comeback from the away side.
Naulago pounced on another stray offload from Edwards to power his way over from 20 metres for his second score to put Hull into a 39-8 lead, before a fine move from Mark Minichiello and Kelly set up Shaul to score under the posts.
And Hull passed the 50-point mark late on as hooker Houghton found a gap in the Dragons' defence after a neat pass from Sneyd to seal a terrific win.
Head coach reaction
Hull head coach Lee Radford said: "To put a performance against them fellas, who have been bang at it for the last month, to win so emphatically like that after Saturday, it's hard to explain. I don't want to accept [the bad performances].
"We have to keep working now to try and find a better way of getting beat, which sounds stupid. But we are fourth, two points off third - a team we just pumped - and we are through to a Challenge Cup semi-final.
"I knew we could compete with Catalans. I knew we could compete with Warrington and compete with Saints. We just need to maintain it on a consistent basis, that's our Achilles heel at the moment.
"We only want to make the (top) five, because we can beat anyone on our day as we have proven in the last three years in the cup. We turn up.
"They (Catalans) are a good side, very good side, so any result against them tonight would have been a pats-on-the-back for everybody, but to do it in emphatic style is really pleasing."
Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara said: "We are extremely disappointed but Hull played some outstanding cup football - capitalised on every error that we made. That's how to play cup football," he said.
"We never gave ourselves a chance in that game and I have to say Hull were pretty ruthless.
"It was clearly not good enough from us tonight and we are thoroughly, thoroughly disappointed with that.
"We are obviously hurt. We need to regenerate a little bit. We went back into our older habits and I thought we got really good at dealing with these games for long periods of time.
"So to fall back into that was probably the biggest disappointment of the playing group and then the result goes to a ridiculous score at the end."