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Challenge Cup quarter final preview

Jamie Barwick gives us his predictions for this weeks Challenge Cup quarter finals this weekend…

Thursday

Hull Kingston Rovers vs Catalans Dragons

The first game of the Challenge Cup quarter-finals sees Hull Kingston Rovers hosting Catalans Dragons in front of the Sky cameras at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

The Robins warmed up for their final eight bout with the impressive 36-10 win over Warrington Wolves scoring six tries in the process in a dominant display. Chris Chester’s men are starting to find some form leading up to the crunch part of the season and are now on a two game winning run.

KR, who lifted the cup back in 1980, reached this stage of the competition in impressive manner by beating Bradford Bulls 50-30 before overcoming Wigan Warriors 16-12.

French side Catalans Dragons face the trip over to East Yorkshire also on the back of two consecutive wins beating Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in Super League. Laurent Frayssinous’ men had a minor scare whilst progressing to this stage narrowly beating Featherstone Rovers 37-34.

Hull KR coach Chris Chester welcomes back hooker Shaun Lunt and prop Dane Tilse from injuries seeing Greg Burke and Aaron Ollett lose their places.

Catalans, who rested a number of players in the league, bring back Ian Henderson, Julian Bousquet and Zeb Taia into their squad. Whilst Thomas Bosc joined Jeff Lima, Todd Carney, Willie Tonga, Michael Oldfield and Vincent Duport on the sidelines.

Hull KR by 14

Friday

Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos

Revenge will be on the cards for Hull FC after Leeds Rhinos claimed the two points last week in Super League.

Joel Moon grabbed a brace of tries on his return to the Leeds side which beat Hull 32-20 at Headingley stadium but this game will be different with the final within touching distance.

The Challenge Cup is a different kettle of fish, just ask Wigan Warriors fans who brushed aside Hull KR 60-0 in the league before bowing out of the cup 16-12 to the same opponents.

The three-time winners Hull FC will be forced into changes with the news that Marc Sneyd was found guilty of a Grade C challenge on Danny McGuire in their last outing, with the half-back missing the next two games – Jordan Abdull the likely replacement.

Lee Radford will also have doubts over influential forward Mark Minichiello who limped off with a calf injury but will be given to the day of the game to prove his fitness.

The main concern for Brian McDermott surrounds Danny McGuire who was on the end of Sneyd’s tackle and could face a lengthy spell in the treatment room.

Leeds Rhinos by 8

Saturday (BBC)

Warrington Wolves vs Leigh Centurions

Leigh Centurions will be hoping for their third Super League scalp when they take on Warrington Wolves on Saturday.

The Championship side have already beaten Super League sides Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and go into this game full of confidence having won 16 of their 17 fixtures in the league.

The omens look good for Leigh with Warrington coming into this game lacking confidence having been comprehensively beaten 36-10 by Hull Kingston Rovers – the loss their second in succession.

Warrington have a fresh injury doubt ahead of this cup clash concerning Toby King who had to be helped off the pitch against Rovers. The injury will do little to lighten the mood in the Wolves camp with an already substantial injury list.

The home side will come up against a few familiar faces but Micky Higham won’t feature against his former club.

Leigh should have a near full strength team to pick from except Jamie Acton who was banned for two matches after being charged with a Grade B offence against Batley Bulldogs.

Warrington by 12

Sunday (BBC)

St Helens vs Widnes Vikings

Sunday’s all Super League clash sees St Helens hosting Widnes Vikings at Langtree Park in front of the BBC cameras.

Saints dropped to second in Super League following their dramatic 25-24 defeat at the hands of Castleford Tigers, courtesy of a Ben Roberts last gasp drop-goal. Despite that result St Helens have been playing some good rugby league and cruised their way into this stage of the competition by beating York City Knights 46-6.

Keiron Cunningham will be assessing his options after Shannon McDonnell was ruled out for the season with a snapped Achilles. On a more positive note winger Adam Swift should be fit following his head injury against Cas.

Dennis Betts will have been disappointed with his sides’ inability to beat a 12-man Huddersfield side at the weekend going down 30-22 on home soil.

The Vikings reached the quarter finals by beating Batley Bulldogs 26-22 with Kevin Brown sparring the Super League sides’ blushes with a brace of tries.

Paddy Flynn, Hep Cahill and Eamon O’Carroll remain on the injury list with Widnes likely to name an unchanged side for this game.

St Helens by 18

Published on June 25 2015 for Rugby AM.

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