WARRINGTON Wolves head coach Armani Sharrock was proud of her young charges despite crashing out of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup at the hands of Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.

The home side ran in seven unanswered tries in the second half to seal a 70-10 quarter-final victory, with full-back Ruby Enright crossing the whitewash four times.

The Wire were still in the game with half an hour gone after pulling the score back to 18-10, and it was this effort that has convinced Sharrock her team has a good foundation on which to build.

She said: “We showed some really good signs of intent and teamwork in the first half.

“We have a new squad, young in experience and we will continue to grow together.”

Wire were behind as early as the second minute as prop Grace Field benefited from a short kick off to finish off a sharp move, with Enright converting, but fought back with strong runs from Grace Burnett and solid defence from skipper Katie May Williams and second row partner Sammy Simpson.

But when Burnett was adjudged to have lost the ball on the halfway line with 11 minutes gone, the Rhinos stretched the Wire defence to send England international centre Amy Hardcastle over in the corner for a 10-0 lead.

The Wire might have been forgiven for letting their heads drop, especially as prop Tina Millan was forced off the pitch with a head injury suffered in the build-up to the try, but they fought back to within touching distance of their hosts.

Big hits in defence rocked the Rhinos, who started to make mistakes, and when stand-off Millie Bell’s kick was fumbled close to the line, Wire were rewarded when Burnett crashed over under the sticks to give Charlie McGraw the easiest of conversions to make it 10-6.

Warrington Guardian: Grace Burnett touches down in the first halfGrace Burnett touches down in the first half (Image: Ben Stiff)

Again, the short kick proved Wire’s downfall with winger Lauren Ellison unable to prevent the ball from creeping over the touchline and Enright took full advantage to score her first from the resulting tap to the Rhinos.

Wire suffered the sucker punch of another try soon after from Sophie Robinson but this seemed to galvanise them into action and they grew into the game again, forcing errors from the Rhinos close to their own line through tough tackling and running strong lines.

But when hooker Dani Bound went over from close range on the half hour to reduce the deficit to 18-10, another short restart proved Warrington’s undoing once more as the Rhinos regained possession to strike back immediately through winger Evie Cousins.

Substitute Keara Bennet, who had a growing influence on the game after coming on from the bench to replace Jasmine Cudjoe, crossed just before the break to give the Rhinos a flattering 28-10 lead.

Any hope the Wire had of closing the gap disappeared when Enright went over in the corner and landed the conversion in the 47th minute and from then on, the Rhinos scored at regular intervals, pulling away in the last quarter as the Wire defence tired.

Hard work from the depleted pack, including a defiant tackling stint from young forward Olivia Hill on debut and the backs in defence, were in vain as Cousins, Robinson, Dainton, Moxon and Hardcastle all scored before Enright grabbed her fourth in the dying minutes to add gloss to a score that the Wire didn’t really deserve.