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Challenge Cup

CEO explains Hull KR’s Wembley absence

Hull KR

Hull KR and Leigh Leopards are about to meet in a historic Challenge Cup Final.

It is a once in a generation final for both sets of fans and the first without a presence from Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and St Helens since 1986.

That day, Hull KR were beaten by Castleford Tigers at the start of a trophy drought that has been going since 1985.

This reached a real low the last time they were at Wembley and lost 50-0 to Leeds Rhinos breaking unwanted records.

As they try to end the wait to win a Challenge Cup which goes back to 1980, they have chosen to stay away from Wembley in the build up as their CEO Paul Aitken explained on BBC.

“We have chosen to stay away from Wembley Stadium in the build-up, stay away from the limelight.

“We didn’t want any distractions, we wanted to be fully focused which is why we went away from tradition and why we’ve not been seen near Wembley yesterday or today so far.

“I know Leigh are staying more local, so it will be interesting to see which tactic works best because we’ve gone with contrasting approaches.

“I guess we’ll find out at the end, but yeah we thought this would be the best approach for the players ahead of the game.”

As we look ahead to the game, here is the team news.

Leigh’s team is mostly as you would expect but a big call is that veteran Joe Wardle has been left out of the side as 18th man.

Beyond that, it is as you would expect. Gareth O’Brien starts at fullback forming a spine with Ben Reynolds and Lachlan Lam in the halves with Edwin Ipape as the hooker.

John Asiata, after all that controversy, starts at 13. In the backs we see Josh Charnley and Tom Briscoe provide cup final experience on the wings as Zak Hardaker and Ed Chamberlain start in the centres.

Tom Amone, Rob Mulhern, Kai O’Donnell and Jack Hughes make up the pack.

On the bench, Adrian Lam has Joe Mellor, Oliver Holmes, Ben Nakubuwai and Matty Davis.

Hull KR had a big call to make on two time cup winner Ryan Hall who won the Lance Todd trophy in 2014.

He has been injured since the semi-final and the question was would the Robins risk him.

Meanwhile, there was also a question over where Mikey Lewis would play. Would he start on the bench, at fullback or would either of Schneider and Rowan Milnes be dropped?

That question has been answered with Willie Peters naming Lewis at fullback.

He has also risked Ryan Hall on the wing so there is no Louis Senior.

Jez Litten starts at nine ahead of Matt Parcell. Brad Schneider and Rowan Milnes of course start in the halves with Lewis at fullback.

Elliot Minchella is given the nod at loose forward as many expected. Shaun Kenny-Dowall will captain the side from centre with Tom Opacic on the other side.

Rhys Kennedy and George King start at prop with James Batchelor and Kane Linnett the pair of back rowers.

The bench is made up of Matty Storton, Dean Hadley and Sam Luckley.

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