Challenge Cup: Tony Smith backs Shaun Wane's decision to rest players ahead of semi-finals

Last Updated: 23/07/13 4:59pm

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Tony Smith says the decision to rest players ahead of the semi-finals underlines the importance of the Challenge Cup

Tony Smith says the decision to rest players ahead of the semi-finals underlines the importance of the Challenge Cup

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Warrington coach Tony Smith has backed Wigan counterpart Shaun Wane's decision to rest players ahead of the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

Wane omitted Sam Tomkins, Sean O'Loughlin and Harrison Hansen for Monday's Super League defeat to St Helens and brought off Michael McIlorum after 26 minutes, with Saturday's clash with London Broncos in mind.

Smith also rested five senior players for the Wolves' victory against Hull KR as he cast one eye on Sunday's second semi against Hull.

Adrian Morley, Stefan Ratchford, Ben Westwood, Simon Grix and Paul Wood will all return to face the Airlie Birds at Huddersfield.

"Each of them had knocks," Smith said. "They could have played but they were rested for reasons. They're freshened up and in a lot better state.

"Had we lost, it wouldn't have mattered. I would still do it over again, just as Shaun did last night.

"It puts things into perspective, in terms of how important the Challenge Cup is.

"The financial rewards are so much different as well as the prestige of the Challenge Cup in comparison to the league leaders shield.

"It's a no-brainer so, if he's come under any criticism, I reckon anyone else in their right mind would do what he did last night and what I did last Sunday.

"You run the risk of losing games - you leave yourself open when that happens - but you'd do it each and every time."

Meanwhile, Warrington's veteran stand-off Lee Briers has revealed he could leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The 35-year-old former Wales international joined the Wolves from St Helens in 1998 and has become the club's all-time leading scorer.

"I'm talking to a few clubs," said Briers. "It should all be finalised within two weeks and it'll probably include some coaching.

"I've made no secret of the fact that I want to go into the coaching side with my next deal and I'm close to agreeing something."

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