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25th July 2019, 16:11 | ourleague

Six to Watch

Six to Watch

Bumper weekend of knockout Rugby League

It’s a bumper weekend of knockout Rugby League and we’ve got six must-watch games over the weekend!

York City Knights Ladies v Army Rugby League | Women’s Challenge Shield Final | Friday July 26 | 7:30pm | Our League

This weekend’s Rugby League action kicks off on Friday night as York City Knights Ladies and the Army Rugby League’s Women’s side go head-to-head in the final of the Women’s Challenge Shield. The competition is filled by teams who exit the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup at the Second-Round stage with the final taking place at Castleford’s Mend-A-Hose Jungle. 

York City Knights progressed past RAF Ladies before a comfortable victory over Barrow Ladies confirmed their place in the final. The Army started their Challenge Shield journey with a 18-48 win over Stanningley before narrowly edging out Women’s Super League side Featherstone Rovers 38-42 in the last four.

Will it be York or the Army who lift the Challenge Shield?

Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos | Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final | Saturday July 27 | 11:15am | Our League, BBC Red Button & BBC Online 

Saturday’s triple-header at the University of Bolton Stadium gets underway with the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final between Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos who will battle it out for a brand-new trophy. 

Castleford Tigers have been the team to beat in Women’s Rugby League in 2019 although nobody has yet managed to topple Lindsay Anfield’s side. The Tigers have won seven from seven in the Women’s Super League as well as dispatching of Featherstone Rovers, Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity on route to Bolton. Castleford will be hopeful their unbeaten run doesn’t end on Saturday.

Leeds Rhinos head to Bolton looking to defend their Coral Women’s Challenge Cup title which they won with victory over Castleford last season. The Rhinos sit 3rdin the Women’s Super League with five wins from seven and have overcome York City Knights, Warrington Wolves and St Helens in this year’s competition. They will need to become the first team to beat Castleford in 2019 to successfully defend their crown.

Will Cas remain unbeaten or can the Rhinos make it consecutive cup triumphs?

Hull FC v Warrington Wolves | Coral Challenge Cup Semi-Final | Saturday July 27 | 2pm | BBC One

The Coral Challenge Cup semi-finals begin with Hull FC and Warrington Wolves fighting for their place at Wembley; a venue which both sides have visited frequently in recent years.

Hull FC won back-to-back finals under Head Coach Lee Radford in 2016 and 2017 but will need to get past Warrington if they are to have the chance to make it three titles in four years. The Black and Whites have knocked out Betfred Super League opposition in Castleford Tigers and Catalans Dragons so far this season and have a tendency to rise for the big games. Radford’s men knocked of Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium but suffered a heavy defeat at home to Steve Price’s side.

Warrington have featured in five of the last ten Challenge Cup finals at Wembley but haven’t won the competition since 2012. The Wolves beat rivals Wigan Warriors before beating FC’s neighbours Hull Kingston Rovers in the Quarter Finals. Warrington have held 2ndposition in the Betfred Super League for the majority of the season but have suffered back-to-back defeats over the last fortnight. 

Will Hull FC or Warrington return to Wembley?

St Helens v Halifax RLFC | Coral Challenge Cup Semi-Final | Saturday July 27 | 4:30pm | BBC Two 

On Saturday, Halifax RLFC will be the first Championship side to feature in a Coral Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 but they will have to cause potentially the biggest upset in history if they are to reach Wembley.

Their opponents St Helens currently sit top of the Super League table ten points ahead of the rest of the pack and are looking to make it to Wembley for the first time in 11 years. St Helens have beaten Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity to make the last four of the competition. Justin Holbrook’s men are looking to go one better than last year when they suffered a surprise defeat to eventual winners Catalans Dragons.

 

Halifax do already have a Super League scalp to their name in this year’s competition as they knocked out London Broncos in Round Four. Fax’ have since gone on to beat Dewsbury Rams and Bradford Bulls in dramatic fashion to become the first Championship side since Hull Kingston Rovers to get within touching distance of Wembley. 

Can Halifax cause a huge shock or are Saints on their way to Wembley? 

Sheffield Eagles v Batley Bulldogs | AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi-Final | Sunday July 28 | 2pm | Our League & Twitch

Either Sheffield Eagles or Batley Bulldogs will become the first-ever team to confirm their place in an AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final on Sunday afternoon. 

Sheffield’s most memorable moment came in 1998 when they toppled Wigan Warriors at Wembley and they are aiming to return in 2019. The Eagles have been in play-off contention for the majority of the season but a recent dip in form could mean that this competition is their most realistic opportunity at silverware. They have already beat Batley on two occasions this season. 

 

Batley have the coveted crown of being the first team to ever win the Challenge Cup however the final wasn’t played at Wembley meaning they are yet to grace the hallowed turf. The Bulldogs made it to the last four in sensational fashion thanks to a Golden Point drop-goal from Louis Jouffret. Head Coach Matt Diskin has had plenty of experience of making finals and he will be hopeful of leading the Bulldogs down to London.

Will Sheffield return to Wembley or is a first visit for Batley on the cards?

Leigh Centurions v Widnes Vikings | AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi-Final | Sunday July 28 | 4pm | Our League & Twitch 

The final Rugby League action of the weekend will see Leigh Centurions and Widnes Vikings look to book their place at Wembley. 

Leigh have been in fine form in the Betfred Championship and will be looking to return to Wembley for the first time since their 1971 Challenge Cup triumph. Leigh left it late to knock out Barrow Raiders in the last round of the competition in a game which was played at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium. John Duffy’s side have won six of their last seven games and earned a victory over the Vikings in Blackpool at the Summer Bash in May.

 

Widnes are currently just outside the relegation places in the Championship but will turn their attentions to returning to Wembley this weekend; a venue they became accustomed to in the 1970s and 1980s. Kieron Purtill – who was formerly Head Coach of their opponents Leigh – led his side to a comfortable victory over Dewsbury Rams in the last round as well as a win over Leigh at home earlier in the season.  

Will Leigh or Widnes make the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final?