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While Leeds Rhinos fans will be hunting through their drawers to find last years lucky shirt, socks or underpants, supporters of Hull KR will be popping round to their grandparents to see whether they have any remaining garments from the Robins last winning trip to Wembley back in 1980.

Not since the Rhinos demolished London Broncos back in 1999 has there been a final which the bookies and pundits perceive as such a 'done deal' making the Blue & Amber 1/5 favourites to lift the trophy for the second year running while the Red & Whites are rank outsiders at 15/4.

While still lagging some way behind the cup kings Wigan Warriors, the Rhinos are the second most successful side in Challenge Cup history with twelve wins from twenty-four final, the last being the 23-10 win over Castleford Tigers last August. The Rhinos have featured in five of the last six Challenge Cup Finals but last season was their first win in fifteen years.

In stark contrast this is Hull KRs first Wembley outing since their 15-14 loss to Castleford back in 1986 and they took the silverware back to east Hull for the one and only time in 1980 when they defeated the west side of the city by 10-5. In total they have made six final appearances and registered just one win.

Never has a game appeared more one-sided but the Rhinos will remember all too well the last time they went into a Challenge Cup final as strong favourites against a Hull side and came away as disappointed 25-24 losers against the Black & White half of the city. Brian McDermott's men will be taking nothing for granted.

Both sides rested players for their games last weekend, and both teams emerged from their fixtures with victories. For Leeds it was Danny McGuire and Kallum Watkins who were omitted from the side which beat Hull FC but the Rhinos were also without a number of 'injured' players who may be fit for the final including; Delaney, Cuthbertson and Moon. Others on the Rhinos injury list have been ruled out for the season. This will be the last Wembley appearance for two Rhinos stalwarts as Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock hope to herald the end of an era with more silverware.

Hull KR had a hard fought win away at Widnes Viking in the Super 8s Qualifiers last weekend despite resting a whole host of regular first teamers including; Kelly, Puletua, Walker, Lunt, Larroyer, McCarthy and Horne.

The nineteen man squads are named as follows;

Leeds Rhinos; Hardaker, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Peacock, Ablett, Sinfield, Delaney, Ward S., Achurch, Cuthbertson, Singleton, Keinhorst, Garbutt, and Handley.

Hull KR; Allgood, Blair, Boudebza, Cockayne, Dixon, Donaldson, Green, Horne, Kelly, Larroyer, Lunt, McCarthy, Matellato, Puletua, Salter, Sio, Tilse, Walker, and Welham.

At the start of the season few people would have picked Hull KR as one of their choices to be making the trip to Wembley, but with wins over Bradford Bulls, Wigan Warriors. Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves, no-one can deny them their chance for a tilt at lifting the trophy in what would be one of the most famous all time cup upsets.

Wembley is close to being a total sell out with just a handful of tickets left on sale two days before the big event. Ben Thaler will take charge of his first Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final after having been video referee and reserve referee in previous finals. Richard Silverwood and James Child will be in the video box with Joe Cobb and Clint Sharrad making up the team as touch judges.

KR coach Chris Chester knows how it feels to taste Challenge Cup glory over the Rhinos as he was a substitute in the Hull FC side which defeated the Rhinos at the Millennium Stadium in 2005. With Super League 2016 almost certainly secured for the Robins, this is their opportunity to confound the rugby league world and spoil the Rhinos party with the neutrals hoping that it is a rip-snorter of a game with a close result.


Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 27th Aug 2015 2:15 PM | Views : 10229 | Replies : 1 | BACK TO STORIES
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