Today will be Tony Smith’s 10th Challenge Cup semi-final but his first with Hull KR in his last season with the club.
Of those previous nine he has won five but it has been six years since he last tasted victory at this stage of the famous old competition so he is very excited by the prospect of booking a place in the final for the first time in over half a decade.
When asked ahead of the game about what a semi-final means to the club, he told the Challenge Cup’s Twitter page: “We’re all building it up, it’s something we’re looking forward to. Every club wants to be in the semi-finals and we’ve managed to get there and deserve to be there and you never know what could happen.”
He also perfectly summed up the magic of the cup when discussing how “precious” each win is on the road to the final: “All of them, they’re precious. They’re games that you’ve got to win, they’re tricky there’s pressure on. The cup has got something special about it the whole essence of is is turn up on the day and show up with the right focus.”
Smith also believed that his team’s recent experience of playing in front of sell out crowds would help them today: “The game is the most important thing and getting that right, not just the occasion, the atmosphere. We had a big match recently against our neighbours with a sell out crowd and I think that was good prep for us.”
According to Smith, Hull KR might need that extra boost with the former Huddersfield boss praising the current Giants’ team noting how difficult it will to beat them: “They’re a good team and if you’re not on your game they make you pay and even when you are on your game they can still beat you. They’re hardworking and pretty methodical and have some pretty dangerous players as well.
“We’ll have a healthy respect for them.”
You can watch the whole interview here:
🗣️ "We've got a great crowd who love their team, hopefully we can give them a performance to cheer about."
— Betfred Challenge Cup (@TheChallengeCup) May 6, 2022