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It is Ladbroke’s Challenge Cup weekend as the four sides from Super League who took part in the middle eights last season join the knockout party with potential banana skins aplenty for the unwary or unprepared. The Catalans Dragons, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR and Widnes Vikings are all in action, along with the twelve sides who have survived the earlier rounds.

The Cup means a reduced round twelve of Super League with just four games as last season’s Super Eights teams use up their game in hand. Nonetheless there are some interesting looking games as the Airlie Birds entertain the Rhinos, the Warriors are at home to the Tigers and Trinity travel to the Red Devils. The remaining game pits St Helens against the Giants with only one likely outcome.

We begin our previews in Super League with the opening game being the Thursday night televised encounter between Hull FC and the Leeds Rhinos. Hull we be delighted at the return of Dean Hadley, Sika Manu and Mark Minichiello, giving them much more strength and experience in the pack as they look to build on last week’s win over Widnes and climb over the Rhinos into fifth.  The Rhinos have Brett Ferres and Brad Dwyer back in their squad, who heartbreakingly lost by a point to Wigan last time out. The bookies fancy a Rhinos away win as Jamie Jones-Buchanan celebrates his 400th appearance in the Blue & Amber.

The remaining three games take place on Friday night with the encounter between the Warriors and Tigers selected for broadcast by SKY. For Wigan, clear favourites to win the game, Ben Flower is back from injury with Gabe Hamlin making way in the only change to the side who came back brilliantly to beat Leeds last weekend. Daryl Powell names the same nineteen that he picked last weekend but Jamie Ellis and Gadwin Springer are both likely to feature after missing out on the final seventeen in the previous outing.

St Helens are massive favourites to take the points off the Huddersfield Giants at the Totally Wicked Stadium despite losing at Wakefield last weekend. The home side will be without Mark Percival who was given a one game suspension for disputing a decision last week. Jack Ashworth and James Bentley are named in the squad. Embattled Huddersfield have brought Tyler Dickinson, Colton Roche and Sam Wood into the nineteen replacing Danny Brough, Matty English and Jared Simpson.

The final Super League fixture is at Salford where visiting Trinity coach Chris Chester has made just one change with Pauli Pauli back in the squad in place of Chris Annakin. The Red Devils strengthen their squad, who beat Huddersfield comfortably last weekend, through the inclusion of Tyrone McCarthy and Luke Burgess in place of the missing Lee Mossop and Josh Jones. Wakefield are the favourites to take the points.

There are eight cup ties over Saturday and Sunday as the minnows from Championship One and those with Super League aspirations from the Championship look to spring an upset and progress to the sixth round.

Two current Super League sides are in action on Saturday afternoon. Widnes Vikings get proceedings underway at 13:00 with a home game against Coventry Bears, the lowest placed side remaining in the competition, while at 15:00 Warrington Wolves host the Bradford Bulls in what would have been an eagerly anticipated top flight encounter a few seasons ago.

The BBC have chosen to televise a Sunday afternoon game as Championship One’s third placed side York City Knights host Super League strugglers the Catalans Dragons. The French side should be way too strong for the part-timers but it does have the potential to be an interesting battle if everything goes York’s way. The remaining Super League side, Hull KR have a trip to Oldham and again are clear favourites to progress, but in the cup you just never know.

The two sides promoted to the Championship last season, Toronto Wolfpack and Barrow Raiders meet in a fixture switched to be played in Cumbria while the game of the round could well be fifth placed Leigh Centurions against the fourth placed  London Broncos, a repeat of the game from the 2nd April, which the Centurions won by 31-16.

In the remaining two fixtures Championship One league leaders Doncaster are the underdogs as they welcome high-flying Featherstone Rovers to town and Whitehaven and the Rochdale Hornets have an interesting match-up as the sides are only separated by six places in the league structure.

Where ever you are watching your rugby this weekend, enjoy.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 19th Apr 2018 11:01 AM | Views : 3130 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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