The Coral Challenge Cup continues this weekend, as all the remaining teams head into the sixth round, with a place in the Quarter Final at stake.
It is a break from the league for Trinity this week, after clinching a win over the Giants on Friday night. This saw Trinity regain third place for at least two weeks, which means that their attention now turns to progressing in the cup competition.
2019 marks forty years since the two sides (Wakefield and Widnes) met at Wembley in the 1979 final. This Friday night – and forty years on, Trinity welcome Widnes to the Mobile Rocket Stadium for their sixth round clash, where the road to Wembley for Trinity finally begins.
Trinity haven’t had the best of Challenge Cup runs in the last few years. In 2018, Trinity’s cup run stopped before it had even started, in the sixth round away to Huddersfield Giants 24-14. Trinity did progress to the Quarter Finals in 2017, but were heavily defeated by Salford away from home. A semi-final was reached in 2016 however, with a place at Wembley within touching distance, but it was not to be, and their opponents Warrington proved too strong.
This year, Trinity will be targeting a strong cup run, hoping to book their place in the last eight. And the perfect opportunitycomes this Friday evening, kickstarting with the home advantage.
Trinity head into this game on the back of a fantastic and crucial win over local rivals Huddersfield Giants and will be raring to go, after showcasing their never say die attitude on Friday.
Chris Chester was pleased with how his side came back into the Giants game late on, and has named an identical 19-mansquad, barring James Batchelor, who comes into the team to replace Tinirau Arona. Unfortunately, Arona will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining an ACL and MCL injury in the same game. He joins the lengthy list of Trinity injuries.
Opposition – The Vikings
Widnes currently occupy 11th place in Betfred Championship table, but by no means does this position reflect their capabilities. The Vikings faced administration and the threat of liquidation in the early stages of the season, which resulted in a 12 point deduction.
The Vikings reacted with a five game winning streak however, meaning they soon achieved the 0 point mark, and were on track to climb the league ladder once more.
Kieron Purtill’s side come into this cup game with a convincing 32-10 win over Swinton Lions under their belt, but have recently suffered league losses to York and Dewsbury. They will enter this cup tie after beating York emphatically in the previous round however, 44-12.
Like Trinity, Widnes were also knocked out of the Challenge Cup in the sixth round last year – at home to Leeds Rhinos, 20-23, and experienced a semi-final in 2014, but lost out to the Tigers.
Their head coach has named an unchanged 19-man squad after their victory over Swinton. Notable names such as Anthony Gelling, Ryan Ince and Harrison Hansen are all unavailable for the cup game, but Trinity will not be taking their opponents lightly, as there are still key Vikings to look out for. These include long-serving Widnes players Hep Cahill, Danny Craven and Chris Dean, and the Chapelhow twins who occupy the two Prop Forward positions, as well asthe speed of former St Helens star Jack Owens.
It is the first time in seven years that Trinity have not and will not face Widnes in a league fixture, after the Vikings’ promotion to Super League in 2012.
Trinity have a good winning record against the Vikings, including a league double in 2018 – 6-19 away, and then 44-22 at home, before Widnes were relegated the same year. Trinity also registered three convincing victories over the Vikings in 2017, including a 12-34 win at the Magic Weekend, in Newcastle.
Trinity (19-man squad) – Annakin, Batchelor, Caton-Brown, Crowther, Fifita, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, Kershaw, King, Kopczak, Lyne, Pauli, Randell, Reynolds, Wood.
Match Preview by Emma Holley