Friday 10th May
Hull FC v Castleford Tigers
Hull go into this clash after going down 6-37 against Catalans at the KC Stadium last week and will be hoping to get some bodies back from injury soon. The Black and Whites will be boosted by the return of winger Ratu Naulago, who was on duty with the British Army RL Team last week. There’s also a good chance half backs Mark Sneyd and Albert Kelly will return to the fray to give some much needed direction around the park, and the return of Sneyds kicking game will be welcome. The Tigers will be licking their wounds after their defeat against Warrington in the league, but have the ability to bounce back from that, and coach Daryl Powell will be doing all he can to ensure that! Cas will be looking to hardworking prop Liam Watts to inspire them to victory. I think that with the players that Hull FC have coming back this will be a real hum dinger of a game, and my feeling is Lee Radfords men will just edge this Hull 28-20 Castleford.
Wakefield Trinity V Widnes Vikings
Wakefield are going well this season despite missing Danny Brough and could have a realistic chance of reaching Wembley if they can continue the form that’s seen them hit 3rd place in the Super League. The Wildcats have another addition to the casualty list in big forward Tiniran Arona with a ruptured ACL and MCL, but the players that have stepped up are performing exceptionally. Wakefield beat Huddersfield by 1 point last week and will be feeling confident against a Widnes side currently sitting 11th in the Championship. Let’s not forget though, that had Widnes not suffered a 12 point deduction they’d be up there in the top 3! The Vikings won comfortably last week against Swinton Lions in the league and narrowly missed out against Dewsbury before that, and certainly have the quality in their squad to give Wakefield a game. Form goes out of the window in the cup so anything could happen but I’m going to go with Wakefield 46 -18 Widnes.
Dewsbury Rams v Halifax
The last time these two sides met Halifax ran out 26-0 winners at the Shay. Dewsbury coach Lee Greenwood will want to get one over on his former club and will be disappointed with the loss at Toulouse last game 0 – 38. Halifax go into this game two places above Dewsbury but are seriously under achieving this season compared to their previous form in the Championship, but the form book goes out of the window in the cup. Halifax recently sacked head coach Richard Marshall, and Simon Grix will want to get through to the next round and potentially meet one of the big guns, although new signing Scott Grix will be unlikely to feature again. It’s a tough call on this one, but I think that Dewsbury could just do it. Dewsbury 22-10 Halifax .
Saturday 11th May
Salford Red Devils v Hull Kingston Rovers
A repeat of the 2016 Million Pound Game which saw Salford come from behind to take the game to extra time where a Gareth O’Brien drop goal sealed Hull KR’s fate and relegated them to the championship. Salford will be full of confidence going into this game after beating the Rhinos last week 28-16 and will be looking once more to the halfback pairing of Rob Lui and Jackson Hastings to command field position and dictate the play. Hull KR have had a change in personnel since 2016, bringing in players like Jimmy Keinhorst, Danny Maguire and Danny Addy, and will be keen to see how far the can go in the competition. I have to go with my gut on this one and say Salford 30-10 Hull KR.
Bradford Bulls v Leeds Rhinos
This for me is the tie of the round, Bradford are enjoying a good run of form this year, only missing out on a 6 game winning streak going down 36-16 to Toronto Wolfpack last Saturday at the Lamport Stadium. Both teams have a lot of history between them, and the rivalry is intense, the last time these two met was in August 2014, Bradford coming away with a 22-14 victory. Emotions will be running high for both teams and there is a mouthwatering encounter in store. The Bulls will need to be strong down the edges, especially with the rampaging Konrad Hurrell in the centre! Jordan Lilley will also be looking to show his employers what they’ve been missing out on while he’s been away on loan. The Rhinos are in a little turmoil going into this clash with the sacking of head coach David Furner, but experienced assistant Richard Agar will be eager to get his troops fired up for battle! Leeds hammered Workington Town in the last round 78-6, but their league form so far this term leaves a lot to be desired, and the crowd will possibly be a far cry from the Bradford Leeds derbies of old. I think this game will be a close call, but I’m going with John Kears big game experience, and his ability to motivate the underdogs and say Bradford to win. Bradford 16-12 Leeds.
Catalans Dragons v Doncaster
This is the David and Goliath tie of the round! Holders Catalans take on the lowest ranking team left in the competition in League 1 outfit Doncaster. Catalans will still be buzzing from last week’s victory over Hull FC at the KCom Stadium, and are very good in front of their vociferous home support. There are 29 places between Doncaster and their opponents, but Doncaster won’t be just enjoying a weekend away, they’ll want to take a Super League scalp into the next round, and if The Dragons let any complacency creep into their game we could see an upset on the cards! I want to say that Catalans will win convincingly but in the Challenge Cup anything can happen! In this game I’m going for Catalans 68-6 Doncaster.
Sunday 12th May
Warrington Wolves v Wigan Warriors
The last time these two sides met in March Warrington came away with a 25-12 win. The wolves will be looking to improve on last years performance in the competition, where they finished runners up. They welcome back centre Bryson Goodwin for this game and hopefully also Ben Murdoch-Masila. After last weeks win at the Mend a Hose Jungle Steve Price will be feeling confident of toppling the injury struck Warriors. Wigan, who have a rich history in the Challenge Cup are without at least 5 key players, including the latest casualty Tom Davies who is out with a serious ankle injury. Adrian Lam and his charges have not had the best season so far, according to the high standards and expectations of the club and fans, but they’ve picked up some good wins on the way. I wouldn’t write Wigan off in this competition. I’m going to say Warrington 24-28 Wigan.
Huddersfield Giants v St Helens
Huddersfield will be without back-rower Michael Lawrence, who received a one match penalty notice for dangerous contact in the defeat by Wakefield. Saints will be looking to make an easy passage to the next round verses Huddersfield and will be looking to powerful prop Alex Walmsley to provide the go forward for the acrobatic wingers Tommy Makinson and Regan Grace to score out wide. I think Saints will be too strong for the Giants. Huddersfield 12-42 Saints.
I hope whoever you support you get the result you want, but I wouldn't bet any money on these predictions if I was you!!
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