Wigan et al have Challenge Cup semi’s in their sights
It’s Challenge Cup time in rugby league, as the competition moves towards the business end with the quarter-finals. As Leeds take on Leigh, the Rhinos, who are 6/4 favourites to win the prestigious tournament, have been hit with the news that Carl Ablett won’t play. They are massivley odds-on at 1/100 to win the match.
The England international, who was part of the World Cup squad, will begin a two-match suspension after admitting to kicking an opponent against Warrington.
Championship leaders Leigh have won 16 matches on the spin – a new club record, and are unbeaten in 2014. However at 16/1 for the fixture, they are considered rank outsiders. After succumbing to a 24-6 defeat to the Wolves, Brian McDermott’s side will be wanting to bounce back. Kylie Leuluai who scored their only try, is 33/1 to cross the whitewash first, while Leigh’s best hope of opening their account could lie with Ryan Brierley, who is at 20/1.
It is a repeat of the 1992 Challenge Cup final, as Wigan take on Castleford. That day, Martin Offiah ran the show for the Lancashire-based outfit, as they went on to lift the trophy. The Warriors are odds-on at 3/10 to record victory, while the Tigers are 5/2.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane, whose team are 9/4 to win the cup, has responded to comments within Castleford club circles that have indicated the Warriors are ‘beatable’.
“Some people within the club [Castleford] have come out with comments saying ‘we’re beatable’ and ‘it’s a great game for them’ and ‘they’re very confident’. Many of the comments I’ve heard have been bordering on disrespectful.
“They can be as confident as they want, but they’re going to get a tough game this weekend and we’ll be trying our best to make sure they don’t get that win.
“We’ve played in some big games over these last few years and they’ve not played in as many, if any, so to be that confident is very risky for them.
“They come here with confidence because they’ve scored a lot of points and beaten us at home, but I wouldn’t be overconfident if I was them.”
Bradford go into their tie with Warrington, knowing that they have nothing to lose. Second from bottom in the Super League table, with just one win all season, the Challenge Cup has shown that all form goes out of the window. As a result, the Bulls are 9/2 to progress, while the Wolves are heavily odds-on at 1/7.