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Delighted - The Weekend Reviewed
Posted by southstander on July 30 2007 - 08:01:48

The only way that I can really describe my feelings about this weekends Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-finals is 'delighted'.

One game was decent, and the other was superb, both a good advert for the game and both well covered by the BBC. It was the outcomes, and the nature of them, that really pleased me.

For once, both sides I wanted to progress, did.

Read more here....

Saturday lunchtime saw Saints take on the cheating Bulls in what should have been the game of the weekend. Saints dominated the game from early on and never looked like losing. The icing on the cake was the Iestyn Harris chip through early in the tackle count which went straight into the hands of Leon Pryce who broke downfield to score. Iestyns expression, and that of his team-mates was enough to put a massive smile on my face.

Whilst both Saints and Bradford were found guilty of cheating the salary cap, it was the Bulls who had incurred a two point deduction (should have been four) for their indiscretion, whereas the Saints overspend was so small to as just incur a fine. Hopefully, Saints eye on the final may make them ease up in the league and open the way for Leeds to secure the minor premiership, but I doubt it.

Sunday lifted my mood even further.

Wigan have become public enemy number one since they were once again found to have paid scant regard to the salary cap and were lucky to get away with just a four point deduction (oh to have a bunch of clever and well paid lawyers on your side). Dave Whelan didn't help the situation by suggesting that Wigans progression to Wembley was 'written in the stars', and the arrogant Wigan fans almost seemed to suggest that it was their right to be in the first Wembley final since 1999.

Plucky Catalan Dragons didn't read the script and blitzed an inept Wigan in the opening twenty minutes, racking up an unassailable lead. Even Steve Gansons assistance in sin-binning Stacey Jones couldn't stop the French side from becoming the first to reach the final in the competitions illustrious history. I guess that I was joined by the entire non-Wigan rugby league public in cheering the Dragons home from the comfort of their living rooms.

This was justice, karma, fate, whatever you want to call it. The biggest cheats in the game were out of the cup in the most shocking of circumstances. As the Wigan public start to offload their final tickets, bought in certainty rather than expectation, and cancel their London accommodation, we can all have a week or two of laughing at their misfortune.

What a quality weekend of rugby as the game proved that the cheats don't prosper.



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