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Challenge Cup Final Predictions: Final Score, Lance Todd Trophy Winner and Attendance

Challenge Cup

One of the blue riband events in the Rugby League calendar takes place this week, with the stage set for the Challenge Cup final. The final will have an extra emotional edge this year, as the RFL has planned a series of tributes to celebrate the life of Leeds Rhinos legend, Rob Burrow.

The men’s final will see the Wigan Warriors face off against the Warrington Wolves. If Wigan can overcome the Wolves, they will complete the unique achievement of holding all of Europan Rugby League’s major trophies concurrently.

For Warrington, head coach, Sam Burgess has the opportunity to lift major silverware at the first opportunity in his fledgling career. It would mark a significant step in a major turnaround from the disastrous season Warrington suffered last year, and their first step towards re-establishing them as a major force in Super League.

With the Wembley showpiece just days away, here are our predictions for how the game will play out.

Final Score: Wigan Warriors 21 Warrington Wolves 18

Challenge Cup

Credit: Imago Images

Wigan come into the game as favourites with the bookmakers and will be confident of adding the Challenge Cup to their trophy cabinet. Whilst they go into the game without Adam Keighran and Tyler Dupree, they have the strongest squad in Super League, in terms of squad depth, and they have plenty of cover in their ranks.

Keighran’s goal-kicking will be a miss, however, and this should help to keep the game close. Whilst the margin of victory may be slightly wider than Wigan’s one-point win last weekend, we still excpect there to be less than one score between the two sides.

Warrington came out of the blocks fast when the two sides met last weekend, and they will do the same again on Saturday. The key this weekend, with a stronger squad, will be whether they can keep Wigan at arms’ length if they do take a lead.

Expect a drop goal from one of the sides. We have Wigan winning by three points.

Lance Todd Trophy Winner: Junior Nsemba

Junior Nsemba

Credit: Imago Images

This is an outside shout, when the safe money would be to pick one of the more obvious stars, such as Bevan French or George Williams. However, Junior Nsemba has been in fantastic form in recent weeks and he looks like he is developing into one of Super League’s back-rowers.

Nsemba grabbed a try in Wigan’s win over Warrington last weekend, having completely overpowered Josh Drinkwater close to the line. Wigan will be hoping to exploit the mismatch again in the final, so Drinkwater needs to be aware of becoming isolated in Warrington’s defensive line.

This prediction is also based on the above prediction that Wigan win the final. If Warrington overcome the odds to beat the Cherry and Whites, then expect full-back , Matt Dufty, to play a huge part in their win.

He is the top metre maker in Super League and has made the most carries, and will be central to Warrington’s performance on the day.

Attendance: 60,000

Credit: Imago Images

Attendances, as a rule, have suffered since the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the 2020 final, with the exception of 2018 when the Catalans Dragons lifted the trophy, crowds regularly topped the 60,000 mark. However, since fans were allowed back in after the pandemic, no final has achieved the 60,000 number.

This year, however, there are signs that the attendance is moving in the right direction. Both Wigan and Warrington announced ticket sales of over 10,000 as early as two weeks ago, and with St Helens and Leeds contesting the women’s final, there should be a good crowd on show. There is also increased significance for neutrals, with the opportunity to pay tribute to Rob Burrow.

The RFL will be desperate for the crowd to be higher than last year’s, when 58,213 people watched the Leigh Leopards beat Hull KR to lift the Challenge Cup trophy. The 2019 final between Warrington and St Helens attracted a crowd of 62,717. The RFL will be hoping they can get somewhere near that number.

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