The Challenge Cup takes centre stage once again, as the Super League sides enter the competition.
As well as the 12 Super League sides, four Championship clubs (York City Knights, Featherstone Rovers, Swinton Lions and Widnes Vikings) remain.
Hull KR v Castleford Tigers (6pm)- Hull KR are looking to bounce back after defeat to St Helens, while Castleford hope to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. Both teams have already played each other, in a pre-season friendly for Adam Milner’s testimonial, which the Tigers won. Hull KR were dealt a blow last week with Elliot Minchella being ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, while there are no new concerns for the Tigers.
I think it will be a close one, but the Tigers should come out on top.
Prediction: Tigers by 10.
York City Knights v Wigan Warriors- A match which has caught the imagination. The ambitious York City Knights against the champion pedigree of Wigan Warriors. Last week’s match against Toulouse was a reminder for York that there is still work to be done if they want to get where they want to get to. Despite some early-season injury concerns in the backs, Wigan have won both of their Super League matches so far.
York will definitely be up for it, and could give Wigan a scare, but it should be Wigan who advance.
Prediction: Wigan by 16.
Salford Red Devils v Widnes Vikings (12.30pm)- Salford welcome Widnes at the start of Saturday’s action, hoping to put a difficult start under new Head Coach Richard Marshall behind them. They face a Widnes side coming in off the back of blowing a 30-16 lead with 10 minutes to go to draw at Newcastle Thunder. Both sides will be in need of a confidence booster.
On their day, Salford can beat absolutely anybody and should have too much for Widnes.
Prediction: Salford by 10.
St Helens v Leeds Rhinos (2.30pm)- There is barely a dull match between the two. Without a doubt the tie of the round sees two of the summer era’s most successful sides go head-to-head at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Super League winners St Helens have seen two big wins at the start of the season, while Challenge Cup holders Leeds have a win and a defeat to their name. Like Wigan, Leeds have had injury concerns in the backs at the start of the season, while Saints welcome back Mark Percival and Agnatius Paasi into the squad- while Lachlan Coote is set to make his first appearance of the season.
I feel Leeds can make a game of it, but Saints will ultimately come out on top.
Prediction: Saints by 6.
Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity (5pm)- Catalans are hoping to build on their perfect start, while Wakefield will be hoping to bounce back after their defeat against Wigan last week. Wakefield could perhaps consider themselves unlucky not to get anything from their first match against Leeds. One boost for them is the return of Max Jowitt from injury, who is set to make his first appearance of the season. While Catalans welcome big forward Corentin Le Cam into the squad, while Jordan Dezaria could make his first appearance since re-signing for the club.
It will be an open match, but should Catalans keep their concentration, they should win.
Prediction: Dragons by 10.
Featherstone Rovers v Hull FC (7pm)- Back in 2018, both sides gave what many people declared to be rugby league’s version of World War 3. Their Sixth Round clash saw seven cards dished out. Featherstone’s Luke Briscoe, John Davies and Brad Knowles as well as Hull’s Danny Washbrook, Jake Connor and Jamie Shaul were all sin binned. While Hull’s winger Bureta Faraimo was sent off, after the match descended into chaos. It is believed the match ended like that following referee Scott Mikaluskas’ decision not to take action for a late shot by Misi Taulapapa on Shaul in the second half. Fast forward three years, and both sides are in a different place. Featherstone are harbouring serious promotion ambitions, while Hull are hoping to get back up the table under new Head Coach Brett Hodgson. Featherstone won their first Championship match against Batley, while Hull are also two wins from two.
Hull will no doubt miss Josh Reynolds, but they should still have too much for Featherstone.
Prediction: Hull by 10.
Swinton Lions v Warrington Wolves (12.30pm)- Some familar faces will go head-to-head at Heywood Road as Warrington Wolves make the trip into Greater Manchester. Matty Ashton will face his old club, while Stefan Ratchford and Stuart Littler were team mates at Salford. However, in a cup match, there can be no room for sentiment, and that will quickly be put on hold. While Swinton have done extremely well in recent years, I would still expect a team of Warrington’s calibre to be too much. The Wolves will welcome back Sitaleki Akauola and Matt Davis into their squad having not played so far this season.
I think the performance against Leigh will give Wire a real boost, and they will be up for this one.
Prediction: Warrington by 20.
Leigh Centurions v Huddersfield Giants (2.30pm)- Two sides in desperate need of a result go head-to-head at Leigh Sports Village in the final game of the weekend. Both sides lost their first two matches of the season and will be keen to top the rot. There is a boost for Leigh, as they prepare to welcome Origin hooker Nathan Peats into the side after quarantine as well as Ben Flower, who hasnt played since his move from Wigan. Huddersfield were dealt the blow last week of Aidan Sezer being ruled out for a few more weeks after a training setback. They are not the same team without him, and it is something the Centurions could exploit.
I think both sides will have chances, but I think Leigh may just nick this one.
Prediction: Leigh by 4