Halifax Panthers bowed out of the 2024 Betfred Challenge Cup at the Sixth Round stage after being taught a tough Rugby lesson at The Shay with a 4-40 defeat by top Super League side Catalans Dragons.

James Saltonstall’s finish in the corner right on the full time hooter was the bright spot for the effort the Fax players put in, but Les Dracs showed why they made it to two Super League Grand Finals in the last three years with some ruthless attacking and relentless defence from their star studded, International lineup.

Indeed, the ruthless attacking started right from the very first set of the game with England Internationals Michael McIlorum and Mike McMeeken combining on the blind side on the last tackle to send fellow England International Tom Davies in to score.

By the time 15 minutes ticked by on the clock, Davies added two more scores to complete his hattrick with yet another England International Jordan Abdull flawless with the boot to put Catalans scoring at more than a point a minute 0-18 up and the cup tie for all intents and purposes over as a contest.

Fax did have their moments, Greg Eden intercepting a lofted pass to race away, only to be pulled back for offside but it was a first 40 that the Super League side dominated.

This was further enforced with Paul Seguier stepping his way through sparse defence to put even more daylight between the sides, Abdull converting once more to give the Dragons a 0-24 half time lead.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first, Abdull catching the Fax defence cold on the blind side on the last tackle to send Arthur Romano over to put any chance of a Fax comeback to bed at 0-28.

Abdull’s conversion attempt fell just short but that would be his only blemish from the tee. Fax showed a bit of resistance in defence and attack for the next 20 mins but Catalans took advantage of a tiring part-time side, first through fullback Cesar Rouge gliding through the Fax defensive line to score before replacement forward Chris Satae shook off some fatigued defence to cross. Abdull nailing both conversions to bring up the 40 points for Catalans.

Saltonstall had the last word for Fax with a typical finish in the right corner after nice link up play between the half backs to make sure the Panthers had a score on the board but the afternoon belonged to Catalans who progressed to the quarter finals of the Betfred Challenge Cup with a 4-40 victory.

Halifax Panthers
Woodburn-Hall, Eden, Tibbs, McComb, Saltonstall, Jouffret, Keyes, Larroyer, Inman, Fairbank, Kavanagh, Gee, C Davies
Subs: Widdop, Tangata, Lannon, O Davies (18th Man: Hursey)

Try: Saltonstall (79)

Catalans Dragons
Rouge, T Davies, Ikuvalu, Laguerre, Yaha, Abdull, Fages, Naverrete, McIlorum, Bousquet, McMeeken, Seguier, Garcia
Subs: Romano, Da Costa, Satae, Dezaria (18th Man: Maria)

Tries: Davies (1,5,13), Seguier (31), Romano (42), Rouge (61), Satae (64)
Goals: Abdull 6/7

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