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Challenge Cup: Leigh Leopards 26-14 Featherstone Rovers – Umyla Hanley scores hat-trick for hosts

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Umyla Hanley’s hat-trick helped Leigh see off underdogs Featherstone in an excellent Challenge Cup last-16 tie.

The son of Great Britain legend Ellery went over for three tries in a well-contested first half.

Manoa Wacokecoke ran in two long-distance tries to keep Rovers in sight, as the wind played havoc with both sides’ kicking games.

Josh Charnley and Matt Moylan seemed to have ended the contest but Gareth Gale scored again to reduce the deficit.

Featherstone went into the tie against Super League opposition with confidence, as they were the only side to beat Adrian Lam’s team in the Leopards’ record-breaking promotion season in 2022.

They were on the front foot from the start, but the difference between the Super League and Championship sides was immediately shown, Harry Bowes coughing up possession as Fev attacked – allowing Leigh to go up the other end for Hanley to finish superbly.

That was trumped by flying Fijian Wacokecoke who, from deep in his own half, raced past Josh Charnley, and survived tackles by Zak Hardaker and Hanley to score in the corner and light up Leigh Sports Village.

A sharp tip pass by Jack Hughes freed Hanley for his second and, after Featherstone forward McKenzie Yei was sin-binned for a spear tackle, Hanley made use of the extra space for his third – and a 10-point advantage at half time.

With Yei about to return, Wacokecoke struck again, intercepting Ben McNamara’s pass and racing away to narrow the gap.

Coach Lam was unnerved enough to send on his son and main playmaker Lachlan, back on the bench after injury, and with Rovers’ main pivot Thomas Lacans forced off, the game seemed to have swung in Leopards’ favour.

Lam dictated play for 20 minutes, with Charnley and Moylan both profiting with tries down the left-hand side, but Rovers refused to lie down.

Their new signing Paul Turner, fresh from St George Illawarra in the NRL, had a superb second half as a sub, denying Hanley a fourth try with a marvellous tackle and then bouncing out of three tackles, throwing two dummies and flipping a gorgeous pass that led to Gale going over in the corner.

Rovers deserved their strong finish but Moylan rounded things off with a penalty from the last kick of the game.

Leigh: Brand, Hanley, Hardaker, Leutele, Charnley, Moylan, McNamara, Norman, Davis, Mulhern, O’Donnell, Halton, Hughes

Interchanges: Nakubuwai, Holmes, Trout, Lam

Featherstone: Aekins, Wacokecoke, Hardcastle, Minikin, Gale, Bowes, Lacans, Springer, Jones, Albert, Day, Tomlinson, Addy

Interchanges: Turner, Yei, Wynne, England

Referee: Jack Smith.



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Paris Olympics 2024: ‘Unprecedented’ security operation will be in place, says Games chief

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Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet says the Games will protected by an “unprecedented” security operation, and that preparations are “in good shape”.

But with 100 days until the start of the Olympics, he said organisers will “keep some humility, because we know in this kind of event anything can happen in the last stretch”.

Estanguet added he was “very satisfied with where we stand at this moment”.

He told BBC Sport: “My message is you can have confidence with this event.”

Amid mounting concerns over safety, Estanguet said “I would like to reassure that it’s non-negotiable. Security is the priority.”

“It’s the biggest event that France has ever organised, and we want to showcase the best of France. So definitely we are determined to be ready.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the world in Paris.”

“When I discussed this with [London 2012 chief] Seb Coe, he told me…in the last 100 days, there will be more criticism, more people worried. It’s exactly what is happening. My role is to remain calm, remain focused on what is very important to deliver.

“The venues are ready, the budget is balanced. We have very good ticket sales, the level of ambition is very high.”



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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang



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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.



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