Saints march into final.
It was a day more suited to sun bathing rather than scrums but in the end the weather may have symbolised a red hot St Helens as they booked a place in their third consecutive Challenge Cup final with a 26-16 victory over Leeds to stamp their current dominance over the English rugby league landscape in Huddersfield, England.
They may have been short of some key troops, but those that were on the field for Leeds simply couldn andrsquo;t keep pace with a St Helens side who simply looked in devastating touch.
The Rhinos looked like they had opened the scoring when Rob Burrow darted over, but the play was called back after the linesman ruled that winger Scott Donald had put his foot into touch in the proceeding play.
But minutes later there was no doubt when St Helens halfback Sean Long darted through a hesistant defensive line and found Chris Flannery you dived over next to the posts.
It signalled a period of intense dominance by St Helens and things only got worse for Leeds as Burrow left the field after sustaining a neck injury.
Leeds hit back through a Kevin Sinfield penalty, but St Helens restored order when five-eighth Leon Pryce strode through a gap to score as the crowd sensed the floodgates creaking.
Wilkin dives over
Just after the break they continued with the job when John Wilkin scored the try of the match.
St Helens second rower Maurie Fa andrsquo;asavalu found winger Francis Meli with a delightful long ball and Meli long run was then supported by a tremendous burst from Wilkin who arrived just as the move seemed to be breaking down.
But Leeds aren't renowned for their fighting spirit for nothing as Ali Lauitiiti crashed over from short range before Donald crossed in the corner to bring the Super League champions back to within six.
However with the momentum with the Rhinos, referee Ashley Klien penalised them while in possession of the ball and the wind noticeably went from their sails.
Some more possession saw St Helens prop Bryn Hargreaves dive over to finalise the result with Kylie Leuluai's late try for the Rhinos proving merely academic.
St Helens will play the winner of the second semi-final between Hull and Wakefield at Wembley on August 30.
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