SHEFFIELD EAGLES showed their Championship quality as they knocked out North Wales Crusaders 50-30 in a thrilling cup tie, writes RYAN GOULD.

After Crusaders took an early lead, it looked like a shock might be on the cards, but Sheffield responded emphatically to go 50-10 ahead midway through the second half.

But North Wales once again showed you can never write them off, crossing for four tries late on to finish the match on top and take momentum into their league campaign.

The home side went ahead inside the opening couple of minutes when they shifted the ball to the left flank for Tommy Johnson to dummy his way over

However, the response from Sheffield was swift as Liam Johnson hit a great line to be put over from close range.

From the kick-off, the Eagles spread the ball brilliantly for Matty Chrimes to break down the left wing, knocking off attempted tackles from Harry Swarbrick and Pat Ah Van on his way to the line.

At this point, Crusaders were struggling to cope with the speed of the ruck from their Championship opponents and Anthony Thackeray cut inside from the right to add another.

The visitors’ fourth try once again came through Chrimes, who finished acrobatically in the left corner.

North Wales dug in, though, and pulled one back as Gav Rodden hit the line and managed to free his arm to put Johnson over for his second, although the second rower was sent to the sin-bin soon after for a late hit off the ball.

A 22-10 deficit at the interval would’ve seen Crusaders well and truly in the contest, but Chrimes completed his hat-trick on the hooter as he won a foot race with Ah Van.

Sheffield made the most of their man advantage early in the second-half, with Blake Broadbent touching down.

Kris Welham then punished a couple of missed tackles to cross down the right, before another superb finish in the corner saw Chrimes grab his fourth.

Joel Farrell extended the Eagles’ advantage to 50-10 and it would’ve been easy for Crusaders to cave in with 20 minutes still left on the clock, but they dug deep.

Jordy Gibson’s looping pass put Jack Holmes over in the left corner and the hosts were then given a further boost as Bailey Liu was sent off for a high tackle on Jack Houghton, ending the tie with 12 men.

Crusaders punished Sheffield as space opened up down the right for Ah Van to finish in the corner, before Callum Hazzard crashed over from close range to add another.

And Rodden brought the final scoreline to a respectable 50-30.

CRUSADERS: 1 Tommy Johnson; 20 Pat Ah Van; 3 Harry Swarbrick; 4 Matt Reid; 5 Jack Holmes; 24 Brad Billsborough; 7 Jordy Gibson; 8 Callum Hazzard; 9 Pat Rainford; 16 Chris Barratt; 10 Kieran Sherratt; 15 Gav Rodden; 31 Matt Fletcher. Subs (all used): 6 Reece Briers, 22 Brad Brennan, 25 Jack Houghton, 12 Alex Eckley.

STAR MAN: Callum Hazzard - the forward caused issues for Sheffield with this work rate and grabbed a deserved try late on.