It’s Challenge Cup weekend and it’s the highly-anticipated Quarter-Finals!
Ahead of the rugby league fraternity are four mouthwatering ties spread over Friday, Saturday and Sunday as Hull KR take on Castleford Tigers on Friday night.
Catalans Dragons will host St Helens on Saturday afternoon before Huddersfield Giants take on Hull FC later on that evening.
Wakefield Trinity and Wigan Warriors will round off the weekend’s action on Sunday at Belle Vue, but just how will the four fixtures go?
Hull KR vs Castleford Tigers
Live on Premier Sports from 7.15pm, Hull KR hosting Castleford Tigers has a different ring about it to the fixture these two played out back in Super League Round Three. Back then, Lee Radford’s Tigers had barely got going, but they go into this clash with two wins in a row. KR, meanwhile, overcame Warrington Wolves with ease last time out and will be hoping for another bumper crowd at Craven Park for this. Jordan Abdull will be back for Rovers after missing last week with an ear infection, but Tom Garratt has been ruled out due to concussion protocols. Castleford are also looking fit and healthy going into this one with Daniel Smith expected to return from injury, though George Lawler is banned. Both head coaches also have a certain affinity with the Challenge Cup, making this even more of a difficult one to call – especially when you consider that this tie between both sides in last year’s cup run ended in a 98-minute thriller. Castleford, though, may just edge it.
Castleford by 4
Catalans Dragons vs St Helens
What a tie this promises to be in the south of France at the Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday afternoon! Last year’s Super League Grand Finalists are ready to go toe-to-toe with each other in the fixture of the round. Catalans Dragons will welcome back Mitchell Pearce following a two-game suspension with fullback Sam Tomkins determined to get his own back for that Old Trafford heartache in 2021. The French side do, however, go into this one on the back of a disappointing defeat to Huddersfield Giants. St Helens, meanwhile, will hope to have Alex Walmsley and Regan Grace back in the fold after they both missed out in Saints’ win over Leeds Rhinos last weekend. James Roby will be set for his 501st appearance of his career. It is another one that is incredibly tough to call, but Saints’ winning pedigree could prove too much.
St Helens by 8
Huddersfield Giants vs Hull FC
The side that beat Catalans – Huddersfield Giants – are set to go up against the side that lost narrowly to Wigan Warriors – Hull FC. Ian Watson’s men welcomed the return of Theo Fages and Jack Cogger last weekend whilst Brett Hodgson had skipper Luke Gale back. Josh Reynolds will also play for the Black and Whites this weekend, though it will be hard on Joe Lovodua if he comes straight back into the number 6 shirt. Hull could also have Carlos Tuimavave and Kane Evans back in contention after the pair missed the loss to Wigan due to slight calf issues. Ian Watson has transformed Huddersfield from basement dwellers to real silverware hunters in the space of one-and-a-bit seasons and they will fancy themselves even if Hull did get the better of them when they met in Super League in March.
Huddersfield by 6
Wakefield Trinity vs Wigan Warriors
Wakefield Trinity have proved in the past month that they are no pushovers. Having beaten Toulouse Olympique at home, Trinity then smashed Warrington Wolves twice in a week, first in Super League then in the Challenge Cup to earn a spot in the Quarter-Finals against Wigan Warriors. The Warriors themselves scraped home against Hull FC last week, but have looked superb in patches particularly with Jai Field at the back. Trinity have relied mostly on a brilliant team ethic, but winger Tom Johnstone has been in inspired form recently though a back problem caused him to leave the field at half-time in Wakefield’s win over Salford Red Devils. David Fifita will also be hoping for a recall for Trinity, whilst Tommy Leuluai will be back for Wigan. That will prove key for the Warriors, but write Wakefield off at your peril. They will fancy an upset here on home ground.
Wakefield by 2