Challenge Cup 2013: Breaking Down Favorites to Win the Championship

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25:   Adrian Morley and Brett Hodgson of Warrington Wolves pose with the trophy during the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final between Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves at Wembley Stadium on August 25, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

After months of competition, there are only eight clubs remaining in the battle for the Challenge Cup.

Some of the best squads in the sport continue to battle for a right to play in the final at Wembley Stadium on August 24. Of course, there are no easy matches at this point in the schedule.

Only one team will be able to win it all, and while everyone still alive is extremely talented, here are the squads most likely to take home the prestigious championship.


Wigan Warriors

As the best team in their league and one of the most dominant groups in the competition, Wigan Warriors have a big advantage going forward. However, they still have to win the games.

This was the problem last year when the Leeds Rhinos knocked out the historic club in the semifinals. It will be up to the squad's leadership to make sure this type of poor showing does not happen again.

Captain Sean O'Loughlin has been through the highs and lows of the competition throughout his career, and he needs to be a leader on the field while helping the young guys remain mentally strong.

With a relatively easy quarterfinal match against Widnes Vikings, focus will be the key factor. If they can go out and dominate like they are supposed to, it will give them plenty of confidence in the final two rounds.


Warrington Wolves

The Warrington Wolves are the defending champions in this competition and have a good chance of winning it all again.

They certainly showcased their ability in their recent win over Wigan, defeating their rivals 22-12 thanks to late scores by Mickey Higham and Chris Hill. The Wolves have now won six in a row in the Super League and should be able to carry this momentum into the Challenge Cup.

In the last two matches of the tournament, Warrington has outscored its opponents 126-10. While the Huddersfield Giants have done well to this point, it is unlikely they can stick with the strength and speed of the home squad in the quarterfinal match.

The Wolves are playing as well as anyone in the world right now, and they have a great chance at winning a fourth title in five years.


Catalans Dragons

With Warrington and Huddersfield facing each other in the quarterfinals, the Catalans Dragons could be a sleeper team to win the cup.

The French club sent a message to the competition with a 92-8 victory over York City Knights in the fifth round of the tournament. It proved that the offense will be a challenge for anyone to stop or even slow down.

After recently defeating Hull FC in league play 30-4, it should have little trouble defeating the opponent again in the quarterfinals. A fortunate draw could allow the Dragons to reach the finals.

While this team might not have the experience of some of the others in the competition, it has reached the point where anything can happen. With a few more strong performances, it will be able to raise the trophy in August.


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