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LADBROKES CHALLENGE CUP PREVIEW| Leigh Centurions vs Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils travel to Championship side Leigh Centurions in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup.

TEAM NEWS

Leigh Centurions

Leigh have enjoyed a nine-match winning run since the disastrous start to the season that led to Neil Jukes’ resignation.

Kieron Purtill has led them to fifth in the Championship table and a place in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup following wins over Batley and London.

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Leigh won 40-30 at London last Sunday, and Purtill makes two changes to his squad for this Cup clash with Daniel Mortimer and Jordan Dezaria in for Rhys Evans and Kyle Lovett.

Leigh Centurions 19-man squad: Hall, Dawson-Jones, Crooks, Mata’utia, Reynolds, Hutchinson, Mortimer, Acton, Larroyer, Thompson, Hansen, Hood, Thompson, Mason, Owens, Richards, Dezaria, Bailey, Higham.

Salford Red Devils

Salford enter the competition in this round following last season’s top eight finish, which they are on course to repeat.

They will hope to again accompany that with a good cup run, after reaching the semi-finals last year where they lost to Wigan.

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They lost to the Warriors in the league last week as well, and Ian Watson makes four changes to his squad as Niall Evalds, George Griffin, Mark Flanagan and Lee Mossop all return, with Ryan Lannon, Luke Burgess, Levy Nzoungou and Gavin Bennion taken out.

Salford Red Devils 19-man squad: Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Hauraki, Flanagan, Tasi, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Wood, Olpherts, Mossop, Bibby, Murray, Shorrocks.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The two sides met on three occasions in Super League last year, with Salford victorious at the AJ Bell Stadium and Magic Weekend before the Centurions won 25-0 in the final regular season fixture at Leigh Sports Village.

Leigh were the winners the last time the two met in the Challenge Cup, edging a home fifth round tie 22-18 in 2015.

KEY BATTLE – Craig Hall vs Jake Bibby

Former Hull FC, Hull KR, Wakefield and Toronto man Craig Hall has been in sensational try-scoring form of late, with 14 tries in his last eight appearances for the Centurions.

In the last five matches Leigh have run in 47 tries, so a Salford side that has conceded 90 points in their last two will probably need to score a few of their own to have a chance of victory.

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This season their go-to man has been Jake Bibby, who has been ever-present on the wing and has already managed seven tries, more than he had scored in his whole Super League career prior to this year.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Friday 11th May
Kick-off: 7:35pm
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Referee: Liam Moore

WHO WILL WIN?

Which team will make it to the last eight?

I am a 19-year-old Sports Journalism student at the University of Huddersfield. I cover a lot of rugby league, following Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants and working for Halifax RLFC. If you want to see more of my ramblings on rugby and football then follow me on Twitter @stibbo99.

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