Challenge Cup quarter-final talking points
Eight Betfred Super League teams remain in the Betfred Challenge Cup, aiming for a place in the final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the end of May
Last Updated: 08/04/22 11:03am
We take a look at what is being said and team news ahead of this weekend’s quarter-finals in the Betfred Challenge Cup…
Hull Kingston Rovers vs Castleford Tigers (Friday, 7.45pm)
Lee Radford wants Castleford to show the progress they have made when they kick off this year’s Challenge Cup quarter-finals away to Hull KR on Friday evening.
It is a repeat of the trip the Tigers made to Sewell Group Craven Park in Round 3 of the Betfred Super League season, suffering a 26-10 defeat on that occasion.
Head coach Radford, whose team followed up an impressive win over Leeds Rhinos in the last round of the Cup with victory over Toulouse Olympique in the league, believes Castleford are now a much different proposition to the end of February though.
“The strides we’ve made since then have been significant,” Radford, a Challenge Cup winner with Bradford Bulls as a player and Hull FC as head coach, said. “It’s important we continue to build but we’ve only got one shot at this on Friday.
“If we win, we’re 80 minutes away from the [final at] Tottenham Hotspur Stadium so it’s huge.
“I’ve got some incredible memories of the Challenge Cup as a player and as a coach. It’s a special competition and it’s the most achievable of the two trophies up for grabs.”
Daniel Smith comes into Castleford’s 21-man squad in place of the suspended George Lawler, while Dean Hadley and Will Dagger have been recalled for Rovers after overcoming injuries which kept them out of last week’s 34-18 win over Warrington Wolves.
Hull Kingston Rovers: Lachlan Coote, Ben Crooks, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Adbdull, Matt Parcell, George King, Dean Hadley, Kane Linnett, Matty Storton, Jez Litten, Korbin Sims, Elliot Minchella, Jimmy Keinhorst, Will Dagger, Mikey Lewis, Rowan Milnes, Will Maher, Sam Wood, Greg Richards, Frankie Halton.
Castleford Tigers: Niall Evalds, Derrell Olpherts, Jordan Turner, Bureta Faraimo, Jake Trueman, Liam Watts, Paul McShane, Kenny Edwards, Adam Milner, Joe Westerman, Nathan Massey, George Griffin, Mahe Fonua, Tyla Hepi, James Clare, Alex Sutcliffe, Daniel Smith, Greg Eden, Suaia Matagi, Gareth O’Brien.
Catalans Dragons vs St Helens (Saturday, 2.30pm BST)
Kristian Woolf is relishing the growing rivalry between St Helens and Catalans as last year’s Super League Grand Finalists go head-to-head in Perpignan on Saturday afternoon.
The two teams have already met this year in a fiery season-opener at Totally Wicked Stadium, which saw reigning champions Saints emerge victorious while Catalans had Dylan Napa sent off.
Head coach Woolf knows the Cup holders will face another intense contest against the 2018 winners at Stade Gilbert Brutus, but would not have it any other way.
“It’s probably just an add-on to a number of rivalries, to be honest,” Woolf said. “I think we’re the rival to a number of clubs and there’s a positive side to that as well.
“Most teams tend to bring their best against us and we get that real experience of playing at a high level every week, knowing teams are coming to give us their best game of footy and we’ve got to find a way to overcome that.
“This week is going to be no different, we know Catalans are going to bring their absolute best in that department for two reasons: Because they’re playing us, but also because of what type of game it is.”
Catalans have Arthur Mourgue available for the first time this season after recovering from an ankle injury, while Micky McIlorum, Benjamin Jullien, Mitchell Pearce and Jordan Dezaria are all back in contention too. Will Hopoate, Matty Lees and James Bell all return to Saints’ 21-man squad.
Catalans Dragons: Arthur Mourgue, Tom Davies, Fouad Yaha, Mitchell Pearce, Josh Drinkwater, Gil Dudson, Micky McIlorum, Matt Whitley, Mike McMeeken, Benjamin Garcia, Benjamin Jullien, Paul Seguier, Mickael Goudemand, Matthieu Laguerre, Arthur Romano, Tyrone May, Dylan Napa, Jordan Dezaria, Joe Chan, Sam Kasiano, Sam Tomkins.
St Helens: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Will Hopoate, Mark Percival, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joe Batchelor, Morgan Knowles, Joey Lussick, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Curtis Sironen, Agnatius Paasi, James Bell, Ben Davies, Konrad Hurrell, Dan Norman, Sam Royle, Jon Bennison.
Huddersfield Giants vs Hull FC (Saturday, 5pm)
Brett Hodgson is looking forward to being back in Challenge Cup action as Hull FC travel to Huddersfield Giants on Saturday evening.
The Australian won the competition with Warrington back in 2012 and was awarded the Lance Todd Trophy for his pivotal role in the 35-18 victory over Leeds Rhinos.
After beating Betfred Championship side Sheffield Eagles in the last round, the Black and Whites now make the trip to John Smith’s Stadium to face the team they beat 14-6 in Super League three weeks ago and head coach Hodgson is excited for the match.
“I love the competition for the reason that you have to leave everything you have out on the field or else you could find yourself out,” Hodgson said.
“Every game is almost a mini cup final because there are no second chances.
“There’s always just a different feel to the Challenge Cup, as well. There’s an upbeat mood around the place and it’s becoming exciting now we’re moving towards the pointy-end of the competition.”
Both coaches have made just one change to their 21-man squads from the last round of matches in Super League.
Louis Senior returns for Huddersfield after missing the 28-12 win over Catalans, while Hull FC have Josh Reynolds available again to play in the halves after recovering from injury.
Huddersfield Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Ricky Leutele, Ashton Golding, Tui Lolohea, Theo Fages, Chris Hill, Danny Levi, Michael Lawrence, Josh Jones, Chris McQueen, Luke Yates, Matty English, Joe Greenwood, Jack Cogger, Owen Trout, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Adam O’Brien, Oliver Wilson, Leroy Cudjoe, Louis Senior, Innes Senior.
Hull FC: Jake Connor, Adam Swift, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Darnell McIntosh, Josh Reynolds, Luke Gale, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Manu Ma’u, Jordan Lane, Joe Lovodua, Kane Evans, Brad Fash, Ben McNamara, Jack Brown, Jordan Johnstone, Josh Bowden, Mitieli Vulikijapani.
Wakefield Trinity vs Wigan Warriors (Sunday, 2.30pm)
Growing up as a Wigan fan, Matt Peet became accustomed to the team dominating the Challenge Cup during the first half of the 1990s.
Now as head coach of his hometown club, Peet is aiming to recreate those glory years and they have got off to a good start in Super League in 2022 with six wins from seven games after edging out Hull FC 19-18 last week.
However, he knows the Warriors cannot afford to take anything for granted when they head to an improving Wakefield team which has now won four on the bounce – most recently defeating Salford Red Devils 30-24 – in Sunday’s quarter-final.
“My childhood growing up, it was taken for granted and it was very consistent that you went down to Wembley with everyone,” Peet said. “It just became the norm and it was a special time with special teams.
“It’s something we’d love to recreate, but there is a long road ahead and some great teams ahead, starting with Wakefield who are fantastic competition, and will have their own reasons and motivations.
“History is fantastic, but it won’t count for much come kick-off time.”
Wakefield Trinity: TBC
Wigan Warriors: TBC