Wigan Warriors host the Castleford Tigers in the weekends final Challenge Cup Quarter-Final fixture. Castleford have won their last three away Challenge Cup meetings with Wigan, with the Warriors’ last home win in the cup against the Tigers coming in 1948.
LAST TIME OUT
Wigan come into this game on the back of 5 away wins, 1 of which was at Castelford back in May. Last week Wigan beat Widnes 7-0 in what was a tough game of rugby league to watch. Wigan slogged it out and managed to keep Widnes scoreless on their own pitch. It was a fantastic defensive effort from the Warriors who where missing many key personnel in the game. With Charnley finally breaking the deadlock after a scoreless first half, Wigan followed it up with a Matty Smith drop-goal and held a 7-0 lead, one in which they managed to defend until the end of the game.
Castleford come into this game of the back of a 24-22 loss at the hands of league leaders, Hull FC. In what was a real sea-saw battle, Hull managed to scrape over the line against a stubborn Tigers side. Tigers outscored Hull 5 tries to 4, however, goalkicking proved to be the difference on the day. After a great start to the game, Tigers found themselves 18-8 down at halftime. Castleford came out strong in the second half, and they levelled the game at 18-18 and looked to be in control. However, Hull showed their class as they scored with just over 10 minutes to go to take a 6 point lead. Tigers would score again, but yet again missed the conversion, which ultimately cost them the much needed win.
Both teams welcome back their respective captains for this weeks game, in the faces of Sean O’Loughlin and Luke Gale. Both players are incredibly influential for their teams in completely different ways. O’Loughlin is a leader on the field that you can clearly see how much they miss when he’s not there. Luke Gale helps Castleford more on the ball, especially with his kicking game. Assuming both players make the final 17-man squad, they will be influencial in the final result.
Wigan’s forwards where exceptional last week, mainly in defence. The effort they put in to not only drive their team down field and gain field position, but to keep Widnes down to nil in the game, was remarkable. Tigers on the other hand, have the worst defence in Super League. Wigan will be looking to exploit this weakness and continue in their great defensive effort in recent weeks to win this game.
It’ll be interesting to see how Castleford plan of handling the Wigan back line. Sam Tomkins and Williams sat out last weeks game, and both return this week looking to make up for lost time. The half-back pairing of Smith and Williams has been in great form in this little run of wins Wigan have had of late. Wigan will know that Castelford’s main threat will come through Denny Solomona, the top scorer in the League so far this season, he’s a player in great form, and one to watch out for.
Wigan did it tough at Castleford a few weeks ago, and with having a few more players back since then and in a great run of form, I don’t see anything other than a Wigan win. One that I feel will be the most convincing of the weekend’s Quarter-Finals.
Wigan Warriors by 18
Wigan Warriors 19-man Squad: Bretherton, Burke, Charnley, Flower, Gildart, Isa, Manfredi, Mossop, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton, Tautai, Tierney, J Tomkins, S Tomkins, Wells, Williams.
Castleford Tigers 19-man Squad: Cook, Crooks, Dorn, Gale, Holmes, Jewitt, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Milner, Minikin, Moors, Monaghan, Patrick, Springer, Solomona, Tickle, Webster.
Referee: Chris Campbell
Venue: The DW Stadium, Wigan
Date/Time: Saturday 25th June 2016 – 17:30pm GMT