Can League 1 Whitehaven provide a cup shock by knocking out Catalan Dragons from Super League in the Challenge Cup? Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash.
Catalan haven’t taken this contest lightly with only two players being rested from the side who suffered defeat away at St Helens last week.
The experienced Captain Remi Casty and Louie Anderson both are replaced by Mickael Simon and Mickael Goudemand.
The game is huge for the Dragons in a season which has been poor so far. Vincent Duport is looking to equal Catalans all time leading try scorer; if Duport scores a try he will equal the record set by Clint Greenshields (86 tries in 146 appearances).
Another record that could be set is that a victory for Catalans would be their 100th at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Catalan Dragons 19-man squad: Broughton, Thornley, Wiliame, Langi, Moa, Garcia, Bird, Bousquet, Simon, Duport, Baitieri, McIlorum, Tierney, Jullien, Maria, Da Costa, Gigot, Goudemand, Drinkwater
Coach Carl Forster named an unchanged from the side who suffered a 25-22 defeat to North Wales Crusaders, including top scorer Dan Abram.
Whitehaven sit sixth in League 1 with five wins from their opening eight matches. Compared to their opposition, Whitehaven have played three matches in this years competition beating Rochdale, Dewsbury and London Skolars to get to this stage.
It will be a tough ask but the semi-professional side will be motivated to lower the colour of their Super League counterparts.
Whitehaven 19-man squad: Abram, Aiye, Brown, Cooper, Coward, Eaves, Forster, Gillam, Green, Holliday, Howarth, Lister, Mossop, Parker, Phillips, Shackley, Taylor, Thompson, Tilley
HEAD TO HEAD
As these sides are separated, meetings have been few and far between only meeting once previously.
That one occasion was back in 2007 with the Dragons running out victorious 24-14; it could be a good omen for Catalans as they made the final that year and they haven’t been able to achieve that since.
There is one player who currently still plays for either of these sides and that is Vincent Duport, Duport scored in that fixture and will be looking to do so again.
KEY BATTLE- Tony Gigot v Dan Abram
Since returning to the Dragons, Gigot has had a huge impact on the club scoring two tries and getting three try assists.
His opposite number Dan Abram is Whitehaven’s top scorer this season with six tries in eight matches and obviously can benefit his side in both attack and defence.
The game could be won through their running games, however even marshalling their troops could be a factor which aids their respective teams
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 12th May
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
Referee: M Rossleigh
WHO WILL WIN?