Match Report: Hull FC 51-8 Catalans Dragons
The Black & Whites marched into their third Challenge Cup semi-final in just four season with a comprehensive 51-8 victory over holders Catalans Dragons.
Lee Radford’s men ran in eight tries to return to winning ways, with Ratu Naulago bagging a brace in an impressive home performance.
Hull are the first club to secure their place in the semi-finals set to take place at the University of Bolton Stadium at the end of July.
Hull FC welcomed back captain Danny Houghton and Bureta Faraimo, who both missed the Dacia Magic Weekend game. Andre Savelio also returned from injury for just his second home appearance.
Josh Bowden maintained his spot in the squad to make his first home appearance in over a year.
Scott Taylor dropped out the squad through injury.
Hull were first on the score-sheet though Jake Connor in the fifth minute. Ratu Naulago rose high to contest a high Marc Sneyd kick, and the ball was patted back into the arms of Connor who cleaned up and touched down. Sneyd added an early goal.
FC made it a quick double in the opening minutes, with Sneyd once again being the provider. His long pass out wide found Bureta Faraimo on his home return to score in the corner. He slotted over the goal to make it a 12 point lead.
However the Dragons were on the board before the 15 minute mark, thanks to winger Lewis Tierney who dived over in the corner for the French side’s opening score.
It was a quick double for Tierney who raced over in the corner as fellow winger Bureta Faraimo was caught out of position.
HALF-TIME: Hull FC 12-8 Catalans Dragons
Marc Sneyd added the first points of the second-half with a penalty goal from 25 metres out, to take Hull’s lead to eight points.
It was Hull that got the all important first try after the restart, with Sika Manu collecting a smart offload from Albert Kelly close to the line to crash over.
The Black & Whites made the lead a more comfortable one and took control of the tie with their fourth score of the game. Jake Connor collected a wild Dragons offload in the FC half, and after breaking away fed the ball to Ratu Naulago who had the pace to beat any Catalans man in open ground. Sneyd made it five goals.
FC put themselves further ahead thanks to an impressive score from Albert Kelly, who broke through the Dragons line and raced away past the Dragons defenders to touch down under the posts.
Sneyd slotted over a drop-goal in the final quarter of the game to take the scoreline well beyond the reigning cup holders.
There was still time for the Black & Whites to put more points on the board, and Naulago to score his second, showing his strength to force his way over, while also raced over in the final minutes making the most of an Albert Kelly break.
Captain Danny Houghton also got his name on the score-sheet on his return to action, with some quick offloads from Griffin and Sneyd allowing space for Houghton to break away.
FULL-TIME: Hull FC 51-8 Catalans Dragons
Hull FC: Jamie Shaul, Bureta Faraimo, Josh Griffin, Jake Connor, Ratu Naulago, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Chris Green, Danny Houghton, Mickey Paea, Mark Minichiello, Sika Manu, Joe Westerman.
Interchange: Josh Bowden, Dean Hadley, Brad Fash, Andre Savelio.
Catalans Dragons: Tony Gigot, Fouad Yaha, David Mead, Brayden Wiliame, Lewis Tierney, Samisoni Langi, Sam Tomkins, Julian Bousquet, Michael McIlorum, Sam Moa, Matt Whitley, Ben Garcia, Remi Casty.
Interchange: Kenny Edwards, Alrix Da Costa, Jason Baiteri, Sam Kasiano.
Hull FC Tries: Connor (5), Faraimo (8), Manu (48), Naulago (53, 67), Kelly (62), Shaul (71), Houghton (77)
Hull FC Goals: Sneyd (9/9)
Hull FC Drop-Goals: Sneyd (66)
Catalans Tries: Tierney (14, 20)
Catalans Goals: Tomkins (0/2)