Rugby League

Chris Chester is on course for a return trip to Wembley.

Wakefield reach Challenge Cup semi-finals with victory over Huddersfield

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Tonga international David Fifita made a huge impact on his Ladbrokes Challenge Cup debut by scoring two tries to help Wakefield book their first semi-final appearance for eight years with a 28-16 win over Huddersfield.

The 26-year-old prop, who was making his full debut after starting as a substitute for his new club a week ago, produced some devastating runs and twice proved unstoppable from 10 metres out from the line.

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Wakefield coach Chris Chester, who took unfancied Hull KR all the way to Wembley in 2015, is now 80 minutes away from repeating the feat with his new club, who managed to complete a third win of the season over the Giants despite the absence of a host of experienced forwards, including skipper Danny Kirmond.

Huddersfield, who lost forward Sam Rapira towards the end with a shoulder injury, matched their visitors' try count but could have little complaint over the outcome and are now left to focus on their fight for survival in Super League.

The game, which was preceded by an emotional tribute to academy player Ronan Costello involving his family and team-mates, sprang into life from the kick-off, with Wakefield playing flawless rugby to race into a 14-0 lead.

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They made the most of an error by Huddersfield forward Ukuma Tai'a in the first carry, with Fifita fending off two defenders to bundle his way over for a third-minute try.

Liam Finn added the conversion and kicked a penalty to make it 8-0 and it would have been a bigger lead had winger Tom Johnstone been able to hang onto the ball with the line at his mercy following a free play.

The Giants were reduced to 12 men on 13 minutes when stand-off Danny Brough was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on centre Reece Lyne and the visitors took immediate advantage with replacement Jason Walton sending winger Ben Jones-Bishop over at the corner.

Finn missed the conversion but kicked a second penalty to make it 14-0 after 17 minutes and Huddersfield needed a big slice of luck to stop the onslaught.

When second rower Matty Ashurst lost the ball in Jermaine McGillvary's tackle on halfway, full-back Scott Grix was alert enough to sprint 50 metres to the line, touching down despite a valiant last-ditch tackle by Tom Johnstone.

It was too far out for second-choice kicker Jamie Ellis to convert but the try breathed confidence into the home side.

Making amends for his earlier indiscretion, Brough cut through the Wakefield defence on 25 minutes and, when stopped just short by full-back Max Jowitt, was able to get out a pass for winger Jake Connor to squeeze over at the corner.

That made it 14-8 and Trinity had to work overtime to keep their lead intact as Australian second rower Tom Symonds, on his home debut, reached the line only to be held up and Connor was inches away from adding a second try with another spectacular dive at the corner.

The Giants were once more pressing early in the second half when the pacy Johnstone intercepted Grix's pass 20 metres from his own line and showed a clean pair of heels to the chasers.

And there was no way back for the home side when Fifita barged over for his second try on 54 minutes, shortly after being denied when a loose ball struck referee Gareth Hewer.

Huddersfield briefly demonstrated their ability to turn on the style by engineering two sweetly worked tries for McGillvary but they were too little, too late, with Finn having wrapped up the victory with his third penalty and sixth goal from seven attempts.

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Topics:
Rugby League
Challenge Cup

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