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There is only one show in town this weekend, and that is the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, in the nation’s capital.

For only the second time in the great competitions one hundred and twenty-two year history, one of the actors on the stage is from outside the United Kingdom as the Catalans Dragons seek to take the famous trophy back to France for the first time by defeating strong favourites, Warrington Wolves.

It is eleven years since the Dragons were first, and last, in the final, and six years since the Wolves have graced the Wembley stage which saw them lift the trophy three times in a four year spell after a thirty-five year drought.

This is Warrington’s eighteenth final, and they have eight wins to their name, the most recent a 35-18 victory over the Leeds Rhinos in 2012. The Dragons only previous Cup Final appearance was their 30-8 loss to St Helens in 2007.

It is the Wolves who are fancied by the bookies, but not as strongly as might be expected from the two sides’ relative league positions. You can get odds-on of 1/2 on the Wolves for the win but 15/8 on the Dragons while Catalans have been given a six point start on the coupon by the handicappers. Reading between the lines the odds-setters are not convinced that the Primrose and Blue will be taking the trophy back to Cheshire.

Warrington will be without Tongan star Sita Akuaola who received a one game suspension from the disciplinary committee on Tuesday. Head coach Stev Price does welcome back Josh Charnley and Ben Westwood, both of whom were rested last week, and Ryan Atkins and Harvey Livett who return from injury.

The full nineteen man Wolves squad is; Ryan Atkins, Kevin Brown, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Bryson Goodwin, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, George King, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Tyrone Roberts, Morgan Smith, and Ben Westwood.

The Dragons, many neutrals favourites to win, have named five changes to last week with David Mead, Rémi Casty, Ben Garcia and Mika Simon all returning alongsideTony Gigot who pulled out after the warm up. Brayden Wiliame, who left the field early has also been cleared to play.

The full Dragons nineteen is; David Mead, Iain Thornley, Brayden Wiliame, Fouad Yaha, Samisoni Langi, Remi Casty, San Moa, Louis Anderson, Benjamin Garcia, Julian Bousquet, Mickael Simon, Jason Baitieri, Michael McIlorum, Benjamin Jullien, Tony Gigot, Mickael Goudemand, Josh Drinkwater and Kenny Edwards.

The two sides have met three times in 2018, Warrington winning 26-0 in Perpignan in March, honours shared with a 22-22 draw in Warrington in July but a massive 56-6 Wolves win a fortnight ago when Steve McNamara took a young and inexperienced side to the Halliwell-Jones for the dress rehearsal in the opening Super Eights encounter.

Robert Hicks has been given the whistle for his first Challenge Cup Final, a just reward for a top season for the official from Oldham. Ben Thaler is in the video booth to help out with those more controversial decisions.

The game kicks off at 15:00 and will be broadcast live on the BBC for those who can’t make it to Wembley. Enjoy the game.



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 23rd Aug 2018 3:31 PM | Views : 2889 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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