St Helens boss Justin Holbrook hails part-time Halifax's 'tremendous' achievement to reach Challenge Cup semi-finals

Justin Holbrook. PIC: Allan McKenzie/
Justin Holbrook. PIC: Allan McKenzie/

Halifax have done a "tremendous" job to reach the last four of the Challenge Cup, insists St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook

Simon Grix's side booked their place in the semi-finals - to be played at the University of Bolton Stadium next month - with a stunning 20-16 win over Bradford Bulls last Sunday.

Simon Grix. PIC: OMHRugbyPics.

Simon Grix. PIC: OMHRugbyPics.

They have also beaten Hunslet, London Broncos and Dewsbury Rams to reach their first semi-final since 1988.

And the task won't get any easier for the only Championship side left in the competition, as they are set to face runaway Super League leaders and Challenge Cup favourites St Helens in the last four.

“Obviously I am really happy with the draw, to draw a side that is in a lower division," said the Saints boss.

"I think Halifax have done a tremendous job to get to the semi-final and we will show them a lot of respect and we wont take them lightly.

"But I think it is pretty obvious that out of the other three sides we are happy to draw Halifax.”

The back-to-back winners in 2016 and 2017, Hull FC, will face Warrington Wolves, who lost at Wembley in 2016 and 2018, in the other semi-final.

Halifax last won the Challenge Cup in 1987, when they beat St Helens 19-18 to claim the trophy at Wembley.

They have won the prestigious competition a total of five times, first winning it in 1902.

St Helens have lifted the Challenge Cup 12 times, and achieved the rare feat of winning it three times in a row between 2006 and 2008.

However, their win in 2008, when they beat Hull FC 28-16, was their last successful visit to Wembley.