Challenge Cup Quarter-Final Preview: St Helens v Widnes Vikings

Date: 28/6/2015

Venue: Langtree Park

Kick Off: 16:00

Referee: Robert Hicks

Teams:

St Helens: Kyle Amor, Travis Burns, Lewis Charnock, Matty Dawson, Mark Flanagan, Matty Fleming, Joe Greenwood, Josh Jones, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Mose Masoe, Mark Percival, Greg Richards, James Roby, Andre Savelio, Adam Swift, Jordan Turner, Alex Walmsley, Luke Walsh, Jon Wilkin.

Widnes Vikings: Patrick Ah Van, Kevin Brown, Hep Cahill, Chris Clarkson, Danny Craven, Chris Dean, Gil Dudson, Paddy Flynn, Danny Galea, Alex Gerrard, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Willie Isa, Macgraff Leuluai, Manase Manuokafoa, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Jack Owens, Matt Whitley.

Last Ten Meetings

St Helens 34-16 Widnes (SLR12 24/4/15)

Widnes 20-30 St Helens (SLR5 13/3/15)

St Helens 44-22 Widnes (SLR22 25/7/14)

Widnes 40-26 St Helens (SLR10 21/4/14)

St Helens 28-35 Widnes (SLR14 3/5/13)

Widnes 4-16 St Helens (SLR2 10/2/13)

Widnes 23-24 St Helens (SLR20 8/7/12)

St Helens 62-0 Widnes (SLR12 20/4/12)

Widnes 38-40 St Helens (CCR4 14/4/12)

Widnes 22-29 St Helens (SLR14 21/5/05)

Preview

St Helens face Widnes Vikings on Sunday for a place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

The Vikings have lost their last three games on the bounce but both sides go into the game on the back of losses in Super League; although Saints’ last gasp defeat to Castleford had been preceeded by six straight wins in league and cup.

Saints have had the better of their opponents in recent years and have also defeated Widnes the last six times they’ve met in the cup.

You have to go back 85 years for the last time Widnes beat Saints in the Challenge Cup – a 10-3 win in the 1930 Final – the first of seven Wembley triumphs for the Chemics.

However, the last of those seven cup wins was back in 1984. Since then, Saints have lifted the famous trophy seven times themselves, taking their grand total of Challnege Cup successes to 12.

Keiron Cunningham has named Matty Fleming and Lewis Charnock in his 19-man squad for Sunday’s visit of the Vikings, while Luke Thompson and injured Shannon McDonnell drop out.

Saints have won the last three meetings between the two sides but Cunningham, who won the competition seven times with Saints, told the Daily Mail he expects a tough quarter-final tie this weekend: ‘Every time they play against us they play well.’ You have got to bear in mind it is a local derby match. History tells you they are always good games.

‘We have beaten them twice this year but they have been close. It is going to be one hell of a game on Sunday.

‘We are going to prepare for the best Widnes team we can face. If Kevin Brown plays well, then Widnes generally play well, and he has been in really good form lately.

‘They are going to give it everything and we are going to give it everything. That is generally what happens in these games. Saints-Widnes games are always good spectacles.’

Widnes came close to evoking memories of their ‘Cup Kings’ days when they reached the last four twelve months ago.

Captain Kevin Brown believes that the experience of coming within 80 minutes of Wembley last year will help them overcome Saints on Sunday:  ‘This week is massive for us for a number of reasons. We not only want to get back to winning ways and give the fans something to cheer about but we know that there is a massive reward in the form of a semi-final place up for grabs.

‘Last year’s Challenge Cup run was special. We got to our first semi-final since we’ve come back into Super League and we’re hoping that our experience of playing the big games will help us to get a crucial result this weekend.’

Head coach Denis Betts is able to recall Hep Cahill to his provisional squad after the loose forward recovered from a back problem.

Winger Paddy Flynn also returns having not featured for the Vikings since May 3rd.

St Helens legend Paul Wellens will be given a presentation before kick off as the full-back announced his retirement from the game earlier this week.
Prediction: Saints by 16 – Widnes have managed just two away wins all season, while Saints have lost only the same number on home soil in Super League. They ran out fairly comfortable winners over the Vikings at Langtree Park at the end of April, and with and Joe Greenwood and especially Luke Walsh coming through last week’s defeat at Cas, they should be able to overcome the Vikings, who are themselves experiencing something of a blip right now.

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