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Challenge Cup Preview - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sat, 31 Mar 2007 11:45:00 GMT
Super League XII steps aside this weekend and makes way for round four of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.

All the talk in England this week has been about the appointment of the new Great Britain coach, Tony Smith.

The current Leeds coach has signed a two and a half year contract with the GB Lions, who he will coach on a part-time basis until the end of the season.

Smith has committed himself to the Rhinos until the end of Super League XII, and then will take on the GB coaching role on a full time basis, heading into the autumn internationals against the Kiwis.

Round four of the Challenge Cup kicks off with the holders St. Helens hosting the National League 1 (NL1) side Batley Bulldogs.

Batley were the first club to win the Challenge Cup back in 1897, defeating St. Helens 10-3 in the final.

Saints are expected to field a slightly weakened side to give some of their young talent some game time and they expect to win the tie comfortably.

Batley are without key men David Rourke, Martin McLoughlin, Phil Farrell, and John Gallagher.

The Bulldogs are realistic about their chances and would be satisfied with a strong resolute performance.

St. Helens 18 man squad: Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Meli, Pryce, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, Gilmour, Wilkin, Roby, Bennett, Graham, Hargreaves, Moore, Clough, Fa'asavalu, Tyrer.

Bradford take on Castleford in round four, who were relegated at the end of Super League XI last year.

Michael Platt misses the chance to face his ex team mates after leaving the Tigers for the Bulls in the off season; he is out with a torn calf muscle.

There was even worse news for the Bulls this week on hearing that Kiwi centre Shantayne Hape will miss the remainder of the year with cruciate ligament damage to his knee.

Castleford will be hoping to pull off a shock result with the Bulls going into the game on the back of a home defeat to Les Catalans.

Bradford 18 man squad: Kopczak, Deacon, Vagana, Newton, I. Harris, Morrison, Vainikolo, Lynch, Evans, B. Harris, St Hilaire, Solomona, Burgess, Henderson, McKenna, Feather, Cook, McAvoy.

Leeds coach Tony Smith faces National League 2 (NL2) side Workington Town in his first game since being appointed the new Great Britain coach.

The Rhinos will hope for a comfortable win and will use the tie to give experience to some of their youngsters. Workington will be without Matthew Woodcock and Steve Ormesher.

The part-time club’s captain Andrew Beattie will have an unusual preparation for the game due to his employers requiring his services until 1pm.

Leeds 18 man squad: Donald, Toopi, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Sinfield, Lauitiiti, Thackray, Bailey, Kirke, Gibson, Ablett, Tansey.

The final Friday night fixture involves Super League strugglers Salford and NL2 side Gateshead Thunder.

The tie looks ominous for Gateshead who has previously met the Reds twice over the past seven years, losing heavily both times 90-8 and 100-12.

To reach round four is an achievement alone for the North East club.

Salford 18 man squad: Hodgson, McGuinness, Wilshere, Dorn, Robinson, Coley, Korkidas, Finnigan, Highton, Viane, Brocklehurst, Haggerty, Adamson, Littler, Gower, Nash, Halliwell, Turner, Williams, Ratchford.

Saturday’s round four ties begins with the only all Super League tie of the round between Warrington and Hull KR.

The two sides met in round six of Super League, with the Wolves coming out on top.

The Robins will hope to repeat their cup triumph over the Wolves after knocking them out at the quarter-final stage last year.

Warrington will be without key men Paul Johnson, Lee Briers and Adrian Morley. Hull KR are once again without their leader James Webster.

Warrington 18 man squad: Reardon, Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Grose, Bridge, Leikvoll, Clarke, Rauhihi, Westwood, Anderson, Mark Gleeson, Parker, Wood, Sullivan, Barnett, Pickersgill, Harrison, Wainwright.

Hull KR 18 man squad: Cockayne, Steel, Dyer, Goddard, Ford, Murrell, Brooks, Aizue, Fisher, Tangata-Toa, Ward, J. Netherton, Gallagher, K. Netherton, Wilson, Gannon, Bauer, Morton.

The two other Saturday ties involve French minos Pia XIII hosting Harlequins RL, and Les Catalans taking on NL2 side Featherstone Rovers at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Both London and Les Catalans will only be satisfied with convincing victories.

For Featherstone, a trip to the south of France should be a memorable occasion for the club and their travelling support.

Broncos RL 20 man squad: Gafa, Grayshon, Heckenberg, Hill, Hopkins, Luisi, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, McLinden, Melling, Mills, Orr, Paul, Purdham, Randall, Rinaldi, A. Smith, T. Smith, Sykes, Walsh, Wells.

Les Catalans 18 man squad: A. Bentley, K. Bentley Bosc, Casty, Chan, Croker, Duport, Fellous, Ferriol, Gossard, Guisset, Jones, Khattabi, Mogg, Pelo, Teixido, Touxagas, Wilson.

The pick of the ties on Sunday is the game between NL1 side Widnes and Challenge Cup kings Wigan.

The Vikings’ skipper Mark Smith will be eagerly awaiting the challenge of pulling off an upset against his previous employers.

The Warriors hold the record for most Challenge Cup wins with 17, which includes 8 consecutive Challenge Cup wins from 1988-1995.

Realising that this could be a potentially tricky tie, Warriors head coach Brian Noble has opted to go with the same squad which beat Hull FC last weekend.

Wigan 20 man squad: Ashton, Calderwood, Bailey, Withers, Richards, Barrett, Leuluai, Fielden, Higham, Paleaaesina, Hock, Fletcher, O'Loughlin, Vaealiki, Millard, Prescott, Hansen, Goulding, Hill, O'Carroll.

The other ties to be played on Sunday include two NL1 clashes between two times winners Dewsbury Rams and the 1998 winners Sheffield Eagles, whilst in form Whitehaven RLFC face the red hot Halifax RLFC.

There are two all NL2 ties to be played on Sunday, as the Keighley Cougars take on Oldham RLFC and the Swinton Lions face the Barrow Raiders. NL1 side the Rochdale Hornets take on recently formed NL2 side the Celtic Crusaders.

The final three ties of the round feature three Super League clubs, and three NL2 clubs.

Wakefield Trinity face the London Skolars, Huddersfield will hope for a first win of the season against the York City Knights, and Hull FC come up against the Hunslet Hawks.

Although taking the opportunity to field young academy players, the three Super League clubs should comfortably take the spoils.

Wakefield 20 man squad: Field, Pryce, Atkins, Jeffries, Sculthorpe, Catic, Ferres, P. March, Bibey, Henderson, Lima, Blaymire, Fox, Golden, Ferguson, Moore, Buchanan, Lewis, Murphy, Wood.

Huddersfied 20 man squad: Reilly, Aspinwall, Lolesi, Brown, Elford, Thorman, Paul, Crabtree, Drew, Skandalis, Nero, Raleigh, Wild, Jones, Jackson, Mason, Griffin, Hudson, Snitch, Hemingway.
Hull FC 18 man squad: Briscoe, Sing, Yeaman, R. Horne, Dowes, Swain, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook, Tony, Manu, Godwin, G. Horne, Whiting, Maiava, Hall, Dale, Wheeldon.
THE RICH ROUND FOUR TIPS: Saints to beat Bulldogs by 60. Bulls to beat Tigers by 18. Rhinos to beat Workington by 30. Reds to beat Thunder by 50. Quins to beat Pia XIII by 12. Dragons to beat Rovers by 24. Wolves to beat Hull KR by 6. Oldham to beat Cougars by 12. Rams to beat Eagles by 12. Halifax to beat Whitehaven by 2. Warriors to beat Vikings by 24. Raiders to beat Lions by 6. Wildcats to beat Skolars by 28. Crusaders to beat Hornets by 4. Giants to beat Knights by 30. Hull FC to beat Hawks by 30. - Read More, Here