‘Good experience’: Alan Hunte pleased as Challenge Cup draw pits Salford City Reds against new boys

By Mark Shales

A trip to professional new-boys University of Gloucestershire All Golds will provide good experience for Salford City Reds, according to interim boss Alan Hunte following Monday’s Challenge Cup draw.

The Reds face the Championship One outfit in the fourth round – the stage Super League clubs enter the competition – on Sunday April 6 at the Prince of Wales Stadium.

The All Golds are one of three new sides in their inaugural semi-professional season and Hunte insists nothing will be taken for granted.

“They’re still a bit of an unknown, but not an unwelcome side,” he told MM.

“I don’t think any Super League team particularly wants to get another in the first round of the draw so we’re pleased about that.

“Obviously it would have been nice to get a home draw and maybe rest some players, but also some guys will hopefully gain some confidence from playing in that sort of game.”

Salford put 58 points past Championship-side Whitehaven last year before getting knocked out in the fifth round by eventual finalists Leeds Rhinos.

Gloucestershire – coached by former Red Brad Hepi – joined Hemel Stags and Oxford in the third tier of English rugby league this year, as the RFL aims to expand the game.

And All Golds chairman Lionel Hurst admitted the club were delighted to be facing Salford – reaching the fourth round for the very first time.

“It’s the reward for all the hard work,” he told BBC Gloucestershire.

“The roar that went up from our office [at the draw]  it was sheer delight and joy.”

Other ties of the round include a home clash for Wigan against Leigh, a trip to Rochdale Hornets for Bradford and an all Super League clash between Hull KR and St Helens.

The Reds have only won twice this season in the league but Hunte admitted the Cup would act as a welcome break.

“They won’t be taking us lightly, but from my experience it’s always quite nice going to new grounds you haven’t played at before,” he added.

“You look back and say ‘I’ve played there’ and ‘I’ve played there’ when you’re a long time retired.”

Image courtesy of Salford City Reds, via Vimeo, with thanks.

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