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Saints 80 minutes away from seventh heaven
SAINTS’ tremendous victory over Challenge Cup winners Warrington has left them 80 minutes away from what would be a remarkable seventh consecutive appearance at Old Trafford.
Triumph in the qualifying play-off clash at a noisy Halliwell Jones saw Saints secure home advantage for the knockout semi final a week on Saturday.
Saints’ opponents for that Langtree Park clash will be known at 12.30pm on Sunday when League Leaders Wigan make their club call selection from one of the winners of this weekend’s elimination games between Catalan Dragons v Leeds and Warrington v Hull FC.
Saints, who cannot be club called, will play the side not chosen by Wigan – and if results went to form it could mean that they will end up facing the Wolves again.
At this stage of the year, the week off to prepare may be a valuable asset after back-to-back physically bruising encounters against their bitter local rivals.
There will have been plenty of sore shoulders in training early this week after a monumental tackling stint helped tame the Wolves.
Saints boss Mike Rush paid tribute to his side’s defensive resilience and the vigour that his forwards took the game to the Wolves set of six.
He said: “Defensively we were outstanding playing against a quality side with some smart players.
“We withstood 20 tackles on our goal line and that was a true reflection of the determination this squad has got.
“Others have doubted our forwards this year but it was nice to prove people wrong. When questions are asked the players take it and come back a little bit stronger and hopefully that little bit better.
He had particular praise for the effort of man of the match Sia Soliola, who played like a man on a mission.
He said: “Sia was enthusiastic and charged around at 3,000 miles an hour at first. But every time he goes on to the field he plays for the club and the town and I don’t think you can ask any more of a player.”