Wigan and Leeds set for Challenge Cup final showdown

By Danny McCann

Intensity is building as Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos descend on Wembley this Saturday for the Carnegie Challenge Cup final.

Both teams will be looking to vanquish recent disappointments in the cup competition. Leeds lost heavily to Warrington Wolves last year and Wigan have not reached the final since their 2004 loss to arch rivals St Helens.

Wigan endured a bruising semi-final with the Saints and they needed the ever impressive full-back Sam Tomkins to come to their rescue. His late try secured an 18-12 win and a first trip to the new Wembley.

The Rhinos had an even sterner test against Yorkshire rivals Castleford Tigers. The game ended in an 8-8 draw after Leeds’ 20-year-old centre Kallum Watkins’ late try forced the players to endure extra-time.  

The crucial moment arrived when a high tackle on Leeds’ Danny McGuire gave the legendary Kevin Sinfield a golden point penalty conversion which he successfully took, signalling a return to Wembley in consecutive years for the Rhinos.

The Wembley showdown sees the Warriors as big favourites with Ladbrokes putting them at 1/5 to win compared to 10/3 for Leeds.

Wigan’s recent run of form will certainly back up their favourites tag as they have notched up 11 wins in a row in all competitions, helping them remain on top of Super League as well. 

Leeds have had some mixed results of late with last Saturday’s 32-22 defeat at Harlequins putting a dampener on their build up to the final. 

Wigan’s Sam Tomkins is the man grabbing the headlines at the moment and is sure to be the danger man on Saturday.

He is overwhelming favourite to pick up the Lance Todd trophy given to the Challenge Cup man of the match. 

The current Super League Young Player of the Year is also likely to get the Man of Steel award this season in a poll voted for by his fellow players.

The Rhinos will be hoping Ryan Hall will be on top form. The rapid winger is Leeds’ top try scorer this season and is certainly one to look out for. 

This will be the first time since 1995 that the two teams have met in the final. That time the incomparable Jason Robinson ensured Wigan left with the spoils with a brace of scores.

Should the final end in a tie the RFL have confirmed the replay will be held at Bramall Lane, the home of Sheffield United FC. The Challenge Cup has only gone to a replay on three occasions in its 113 year history.

Related Articles