Widnes host Leeds in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup 6th round on Friday night as both sides look to bounce back from Super League defeats last week. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash.
Dennis Betts has been forced into making three changes to the squad that lost 28-18 at Huddersfield.
Winger Patrick Ah Van and Danny Craven are both missing due to rib and shoulder injuries respectively, while Jimmy Keinhorst, who is on loan at the Vikings from Leeds, has been made unavailable by his parent club so is unavailable. They are replaced by Stefan Marsh, Ed Chamberlain and Ted Chapelow.
Krisnan Inu (broken leg), Joe Mellor (groin), Gil Dudson (ankle), Chris Houston (knee) and Chris Dean (torn bicep) are all out.
Widnes Vikings 19-man squad: Rhys Hanbury, Stefan Marsh, Charly Runciman, Tom Gilmore, Lloyd White, Alex Gerrard, Matt Whitley, Hep Cahill, Tom Olbison, Sam Wilde, Greg Burke, MacGraff Leuluai, Jordan Johnstone, Ryan Ince, Ed Chamberlain, Jay Chapelow, Ted Chapelow, Aaron Heremaia, Wellington Albert.
Prop Brad Singleton broke his hand in his side’s defeat to Warrington so is ruled out and replaced by 19-year old Polish forward Mikolaj Oledzki.
Jack Walker and Brad Dwyer, who were both named in last week’s 19 but were not risked following injury layoffs, could both make their comebacks at the Halton Stadium.
Liam Sutcliffe (foot), Brett Delaney (shoulder) and Mitch Garbutt (knee) are still sidelined.
Leeds Rhinos 19-man squad: Ashton Golding, Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall, Joel Moon, Richie Myler, Adam Cuthbertson, Matt Parcell, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Stevie Ward, Brad Dwyer, Anthony Mullally, Brett Ferres, Nathaniel Peteru, Ash Handley, Jack Walker, Mikolaj Oledzki, Josh Walters.
HEAD TO HEAD
Despite their poor season, Widnes will take confidence from their home record against Leeds going into this cup clash.
Leeds have lost their last four visits to the Halton Stadium, including a 23-6 loss in round 3 earlier this season.
This is the first time two sides have been drawn together in the Cup since a 1999 quarter-final meeting, a game that an Andy Hay and Kevin Sinfield-inspired Rhinos team won 46-10 before going onto win the competition.
KEY BATTLE- Tom Gilmore v Joel Moon
Gilmore scored one of Widnes’ three tries at the John Smith’s Stadium and has also created the most tries (7) for the Vikings in Super League this season.
With no Joe Mellor, Gilmore will have to continue to create opportunities for his team mates if they are to find a way through Leeds and progress past the 2014 and 2015 winners.
After a slow start to the season, Joel Moon has found form in recent weeks with three tries in as many games and is starting to cause problems for his opposition once again.
The Australian’s evasive running style and unpredictability could cause problems for a Widnes defence that have conceded 55 tries in 13 games so far.
Gilmore and Moon both have a lot of responsibility in their teams’ attacking systems, so whichever of the two stand-offs has the better performance on Friday night may well have an impact on the result.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 11th May 2018
Venue: Halton Stadium
Referee: Greg Dolan
Who Will Win?