Super League leaders St Helens travel to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle with a place in the last eight of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at stake. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash.
Castleford make two changes to the 19-man squad, as Jy Hitchcox comes in after his loan spell at Bradford ended, while Nathan Massey returns following his recent injury layoff. James Green and Cory Aston are the two players who make way.
The Tigers will be hoping to bounce back quickly after falling to defeat last Saturday at the hands of Hull FC in front of a bumper crowd at the KCOM Stadium.
Castleford 19-man squad: Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Ellis, Moors, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner, Massey, Sene-Lefao, Wardle, Foster, Cook, Springer, Trueman, Hitchcox, Watts.
St Helens have named an unchanged side following last week’s win over the Catalans Dragons.
Justin Holbrook will be hoping that his star man Ben Barba can return to the side after being left out of the 17-man squad against the Dragons as a precautionary measure.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Roby, Amor, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Peyroux, Richardson, Grace, Barba.
HEAD TO HEAD
The Saints will be hoping for a win over Daryl Powell’s side having tamed the Tigers in their round one clash this season.
Mark Percival will want to repeat his performance on that day, having crossed for a treble at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Alongside Barba, the centre has been a stand-out for the ‘Red V’ this year and has been a big reason why his side are currently two points clear of second-placed Wigan.
However, the Tigers will fancy their chances of a win, having won three of the last four games against the table toppers at home.
KEY BATTLE- Ben Barba vs Jake Trueman
If Ben Barba can perform with his typical aplomb, the Saints will be confident of securing a safe passage into the next round.
The 28-year is a natural full-back capable of adding his usual attacking flair to the attacking line. He may very well relish coming up against Jake Trueman, a promising young player, but not a natural number one.
The full-back berth is one that has been tough for the Tigers to nail down- whether it be Ben Roberts, Greg Minikin or Trueman himself, none have cemented their spot in the side.
It is unlikely that the 19-year old will be able to outperform a former Dally M Medal winner likes Barba, but it will certainly be a great learning experience if Trueman is wanting to play in the number one spot on a long-term basis.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday May 12
Venue: Mend-A-Hose Jungle
Referee: J. Child
WHO WILL WIN?