This weekend the action takes place at Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium and Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium as Wigan Warriors and Hull KR meet in one of the two Challenge Cup semi-finals and Super League and World Champions St Helens take on Leigh Leopards.
Wigan are chasing Challenge Cup number 21 and a second consecutive Challenge Cup Final win, Hull KR are hoping for a repeat of their 2015 semi-final heroics at Headingley whilst St Helens are pursuing another trophy to add to their recent dynasty and a second Challenge Cup in three years after a 13 year wait was ended in 2021.
Meanwhile Leigh Leopards are chasing what was seen as an impossible dream at the start of the season and remarkably go into the game above Saints in the table.
Speaking on Saints TV, Paul Wellens spoke about the game: “I’m pretty fortunate here as the coach that I’ve got a group of players who have in recent times learned and understood what it’s like to play in big games.
“In terms of the preparation, I’ve got a lot of trust in the players to do that and take care of it themselves.
“Obviously from a coaching perspective there’s a fair bit of detail, stuff that we need to cover off on in terms of how we want to approach the game.
“In terms of the playing group, I’m quite fortunate that I’ve got a group of players who understand what playing in big games is all about.”
Wellens meanwhile spoke about the huge blow of losing skipper James Roby and star Mark Percival:
“First of all it’s obviously disappointing for both of those guys who aren’t going to be able to play and quite clearly they’ve been influential in a lot of the success that we’ve had in recent years.
“But if you are going to be successful throughout the course of a season, you are going to have to come through periods of adversity and what this group of players have shown that they can do in recent times is overcome that adversity.
“This is another challenge that we need to overcome and whoever does take the field, they’ll come in with a tonne of energy and a real determination to help us get the result that we want.
“What I’m very keen to do is get our preparation right this week. Obviously, we played on Thursday night, so we’ve had a few days recovery, which is great.
“What I want them to do is train really well because more often than not when we train well during the week that transfers onto the field on the weekend.
“It’s not just the players who take the field are responsible for that, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes and players that are not playing are usually responsible for training to a high standard as well. That’s what the aim is for this week, to be able to get the best performance possible on Saturday.”