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Challenge Cup Semi-Final Predictions: Wire walkover and more drop goal drama?

Challenge Cup

It’s Challenge Cup Semi-Final weekend and this year sees a repeat of last year’s epic Wigan Warriors and Hull KR clash, whilst two new teams return after a hiatus from this stage of the competition.

Those sides are the in-form Warrington Wolves and the out-of-form Huddersfield Giants, however, both teams have impressed this season and it’s rookie head coach Sam Burgess and his team that are garnering all the attention.

As for Ian Watson and Huddersfield Giants, they’ve quietly gone about a very solid season and whilst they’re not in the crucial top six of Super League currently, they’re within touching distance still after three consecutive losses. Two of those losses came by margins of two points or less as well.

The other semi-final is a repeat of last year with Brad Schneider’s drop goal all that could separate Hull KR and Wigan Warriors at Headingley. Could that be the same at Doncaster’s Eco-Power Stadium this year? Hull KR got the better of Wigan in Super League recently with a 26-10 victory but newly-contracted Willie Peters will be anticipating a far tougher test.

Ahead of KR and Wigan’s match-up will be a repeat of another of last season’s semi-finals that went down to a drop goal, St Helens edged York Valkyrie 17-16 courtesy of a 79th-minute drop goal. Saints would go on to beat Leeds Rhinos in the final after they had dispatched Wigan Warriors, who they play again on Sunday in another repeat.

All four of those games are available to watch on the BBC and with three of the four Challenge Cup Semi-Finals being repeats of last year, will they play out the same?

Challenge Cup Predictions

Saturday 18th May @ Eco-Power Stadium

St Helens 18-22 York Valkyrie

Valkyrie will be wanting to avenge last year’s Challenge Cup defeat and also rebound from their home loss to Leeds Rhinos this past weekend. As for St Helens, they couldn’t arrive in much better form after a 58-4 win against Featherstone on the road.

However, both teams met in Round One with Valkryie coming out on top 20-16 that day and another four-point margin of victory would be a likely result.

Hull KR 14-15 Wigan Warriors

Hull KR made it to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley last year but this year they’re tipped to fall short at the hurdle before. The brutal truth is that Wigan rarely lose to two opponents in the same season, never mind in the space of a month, and Matt Peet will have been game planning ever since.

Give Willie Peters his credits, he will have been doing the exact same, but this could turn into an attritional game and that huge Wigan pack might get on top just enough that the Robins’ line speed falters late on to allow a Harry Smith drop goal to send Wigan back to Wembley.

Sunday 19th May @ The Totally Wicked Stadium

Leeds Rhinos 32-16 Wigan Warriors

These two teams are unbeaten so far with three wins a piece and incredible points differences during that period but it’s the Rhinos who should edge this Challenge Cup tie. That’s on account of the fact they’ve been battle-hardened with that win over York Valkyrie.

Whilst that may detract from them early doors, their ability to win the tough games should favour them in the second half. Look out for Caitlin Beevers who returned from shoulder reconstruction with a try last week, the back could be good for a brace.

Huddersfield Giants 10-34 Warrington Wolves

The Giants need to bounce back from their disastrous loss to Wigan Warriors last week but a game against in-form Warrington Wolves isn’t what they would have wished for. Sam Burgess’ side have been very impressive this season with their only defeats coming at the hands of Catalans Dragons and Salford Red Devils.

Since that Salford loss, they’ve beaten both Hull sides with ease whilst the Giants are on a three-game slide and even the return of Adam Swift won’t be enough to prevent Wire dancing off into the sun and heading to Wembley.

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