SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook gave his thoughts to the Star’s Mike Critchley after Sunday’s tight cup tie.

MC: Very rare that you see the players flat out on the floor after a game.

JH: It was just a really tough – and I think that is what we have all got to realise because that is what the Challenge Cup does.

It puts everyone on a level playing field and we all want to get to Wembley, Huddersfield were never going to look at the table and say Saints are at the top so we are going to just let them win.

That is way the game went, and even though we could not kick away on the scoreboard I felt we were always in control. When we gave the ball over it was always in a good position from us and on our terms.

We would have liked to have made it a more convincing win – but all you have to do is win that game and move on and that is what we did.

St Helens Star:

MC: There were maybe a few touches of anxiety with the ball – particularly at the end of sets?

JH: It was a really tough game and it was hot – and played at a really fast pace. We exerted a lot of energy in defence, so when you get the ball you are trying to execute your plays perfectly and that is where we let ourselves down with the execution.

I don’t think it was anxiety – it was just that we were a little bit off in attack due to putting so much effort into other areas.

I thought defensively – if you look at it overall – we were really strong but in a couple of areas we clocked off and that cost us points every time. That is something we have to get better at.

St Helens Star:

MC: Have you watched back the Kevin Naiqama pass for the disallowed try?

JH: What made it look bad was that Tommy reached forward for it but if you look at the pass it was fine.

It is hard because they haven’t got a lot of time to make the call – but when you see something brilliant like that you would love it to be rewarded but he was unlucky.

When he got his arm out there and flicked it away, it was like Matt Gidley.

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MC: There was a stage where drop goal was on to make it two-scores, but you opted to turn over on the line?

JH: I said to players in review I was happy either way. I would have been happy to have gone for the one – but also to turn it over on the line was not a bad option. The way the game was going we had them pinned in their half so I was ok with that.

Once you get inside the opposition’s 10m it becomes harder to kick a field goal because they are not retreating 10 metres. The closer we got to the tryline the harder it is for the kicker.

I was happy either way.

MC: Who is your go-to man for the drop goal?

JH: I am happy with either Lachlan Coote or Theo Fages.

MC: There have been a series of very intense games – apart from Hull KR. How are they physically shaping up?

JH: I think every side is similar. I watched the Warrington v Wigan Challenge Cup game and I thought it was a fantastic game.

This time of year you play in the beautiful weather and the summer rugby kicks in. Everything does change this time of year. You have to adapt with the conditions.

I watch a lot of games and the error rates are going up due to the mental and physical fatigue of every player that has been playing. That plays a big part but that is just part of the game.

St Helens Star:

MC: Wakefield next up in the Challenge Cup?

JH: Huddersfield away was always going to be a tricky game and this is another one because on their day Wakefield are capable of playing as well as anyone.

It is great to be at home.

It is the luck of the draw – you always hope to get a side in a lower division but you can’t control that.

MC: Looking immediately to Friday, Salford will be kicking themselves at their Cup knockout, particularly after the way they have played against some of the bigger teams?

JH: They will be disappointed. They have played really good against the big sides and had a dominant win at Warrington at Easter and they were the only side to go to Catalans and blow them off the park.

They are really capable and are a good attacking side. For us we have got to make sure we do a good job there on Jackson Hastings and Robert Lui, their two main threats. They run their plays well - and we will be tested in that area.

MC: Are you glad to get a Friday game?

JH: It has been a bit weird for the past six to eight weeks. Even for the staff we come on a Wednesday and think it is Monday and all the days are out of whack

We have been enjoying the day games

It is good to be back at home too.

St Helens Star:

MC: Contract wise have there been any developments with Theo Fages?

JH: No, I have not heard anything yet from our club on it.

MC: People are setting their calendars to get an update on your contract situation here at Saints. Anything to report?

JH: I said May in the post match press conference at Easter - but if I had thought about it I should have said June really. So there is nothing to say yet - and I have not even spoken with Eamonn yet, but that is not good or bad either way.