Widnes Vikings vowed to remain a full-time professional club after Toronto Wolfpack consigned them to relegation from Super League and Ben Barba put on another show as St Helens beat Warrington Wolves in a semi-final dress rehearsal.
The Vikings' seven-year stay in the top flight came to an end with a 20-12 defeat to the Wolfpack, who are on course for promotion, at the Lamport Stadium on Saturday.
Tries from Cory Paterson, Matty Russell and Blake Wallace and eight points from the boot of Gareth O'Brien sent Widnes into the Championship.
Vikings chief executive James Rule issued a defiant statement after the Cheshire club's fate was confirmed.
"Today's confirmation that Widnes Vikings have been relegated to the Championship is a devastating moment for everyone associated with the club." said Rule.
"Further statements will be issued soon, however at this stage we simply wish to apologise for the experiences of the past two seasons, where results have fallen far below our expectations and provide assurances on the future ambitions for Widnes Vikings.
"The Vikings intend to remain a professional, full-time organisation. We are determined to make every effort to retain the best of our talent, and to also effectively rebuild this squad, with the intention of making an immediate return to the Super League. This is a great club that has made real progress since it's return to the top flight, and we must ensure that we rebound from this moment to get our club back on track."
League Leaders' Shield winners Saints laid down a marker just less than a fortnight before they take on Warrington in the last four, easing to a 34-14 victory at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Barba, the leading try-scorer in Super League, claimed two of Saints' six tries in a match that saw Matty Lees, Mark Percival and Ryan Atkins sin-binned for a first-half brawl.
Catalans Dragons saw off Hull FC 26-20 Super 8s clash, while Toulouse Olympique upset Hull KR 34-23 and London Broncos shocked Salford Red Devils 11-8 to keep their promotion hopes alive.
20 de marzo 2019
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