ARMANI Sharrock admits Warrington Wolves’ women’s team “learned some tough lessons” from their heavy defeat to St Helens on Sunday.

In a match to decide who topped Group Three and secured home advantage in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup quarter-finals, the holders proved too strong for a reshuffled Wire side that included four debutants and skipper Katie May-Williams operating in the halves.

Saints outscored the home team by 11 tries to one to run out 58-6 winners, a result which was harsh on a Wire side that fought hard throughout the game.

As a result, Warrington face a trip to Leeds Rhinos in the last-eight, with the tie set to be played this weekend.

“We probably had a 20-minute spell in the first half where we matched them and played some good rugby, but we got the try and then switched off,” Sharrock said.

“We weren’t good enough today but that’s the first Super League opponent we have faced and we learned some tough lessons and we will build from that.

 “We fell off a little bit in the middles and opened the door for Saints and that’s not something we are happy about, but we will work on that and we will grow for next week.”

With Stevie Donougher and Albany Coates forming a new look partnership on the right-hand edge, winger Rebecca Nixon dropped into the full-back berth for her first game of the season.

Olivia Webb and Helena Turner were also marking their first Wire appearances from the bench.

The build-up to the game had already been disrupted by the weather, with the women’s home venue at Victoria Park deemed unplayable alongside other venues in the town due to the effects of heavy rain, meaning Bank Quay Bulls were the host for this final game in the Challenge Cup group stages.

And despite a strong defensive start from the Wire, Saints opened the scoring on four minutes after former Wigan full-back Beri Salihi benefited from a strong Jodie Cunningham break down the middle to score the first of her three tries, which Amy Taylor converted.

Wire came back strongly, including some good runs from Emily Downs and Abi Latchford, but just couldn’t open the Saints up near their own line.

Likewise, the Wire were fierce in defence and repelled a number of Saints forays into their half.

But, gradually, the Saints forwards got a foothold and it was another strong run from Cunningham that stretched the Wire defence, with the ball being worked to Darcy Stott who went in under the sticks. Taylor added the extras.

Wire were back within touching distance just moments later as Donougher raced down the touchline to go in at the corner, with Charlie Magraw adding a superb conversion to make it 12-6 to the visitors.

But the game turned back in the Saints’ favour from the restart when Williams was harshly adjudged to have knocked the kick-off on when the ball appeared to have gone backwards and Phoebe Hook went over in the corner from the resultant scrum.

More Saints pressure eventually broke the resilient Wire defence, running in three late tries through Salihi, Erin Stott and Rachael Woosey to close out the half with a 32-6 lead.

The Wire appeared rejuvenated after the break, with strong defence and pressure on the Saints line which forced several errors, but the holders managed to shake off the shackles 10 minutes into the half when Salihi completed her hat-trick in the corner.

Still the Wire came back but couldn’t take advantage of a litany of Saints mistakes, and the home side were once again punished late on as they were forced to reshuffle again through injuries to Nixon and prop Grace Burnett.

England international Tara Jones on 65 minutes, Woosey with her second and then Erin Stott capitalised on a tiring defence in a 10-minute purple patch. Faye Gaskill went over in the dying seconds for a final 58-6 scoreline that the home side’s defensive efforts really didn’t deserve.

Wolves: Rebecca Nixon; Abigail Johnstone, Nicola Barnett, Stevie Donougher, Albany Coates; Katie May Williams, Charlie Magraw; Megan Condliffe, Dani Bound, Grace Burnett, Emily Downs, Sammi Simpson, Abi Latchford. Subs: Tina Millan, Helena Turner, Emily Tandy, Olivia Webb. 18th: Olivia Hill