Challenge Cup 2013: Breaking Down the Remaining Quarterfinal Fixtures
With London Broncos and Hull FC having already made their way into the semifinal stage of the competition, only four clubs’ quarterfinal futures remain uncertain in this season’s Challenge Cup.
On Sunday, it comes the turn of Warrington Wolves to host Huddersfield Giants at the Halliwell Jones Stadium before Wigan and Widnes face off on Monday evening.
With just two of the quartet able to advance, here we’ll consider just who’s looking most likely to clinch one of those places in the next phase of competition, salvaging their chances of silverware as a result.
Warrington Wolves vs. Huddersfield Giants
The Wire have already overcome Huddersfield twice in their 2013 Super League season, overcoming the Claret and Gold 34-12 at the John Smith’s Stadium before dishing out a more severe 28-2 beating back on home soil.
In what will be their second clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the space of four months, home advantage is bound to bear a certain amount of significance once more.
That being said, the Giants remain one point above the Wolves in Super League competition for a reason, and they overcame the league leaders, Wigan Warriors, very early on in their campaign.
Tony Smith’s only change is quite a significant one, with injured centre Ryan Atkins swapping out for Rhys Williams.
Meanwhile, Paul Anderson’s team news is far rosier with no notable omissions, and the Huddersfield coach will be banking on Danny Brough to have a big week from the tea in what promises to be a tight encounter.
Wigan Warriors vs. Widnes Vikings
If Super League form is anything to go by, it’s difficult to see past a home triumph when Widnes make the trip to Wigan on Monday.
In a battle of the savages, Warriors are very likely to overcome their Viking opponents as top-of-the-table meets fourth-from-the-bottom.
Earlier this week, the only solace Dennis Betts' Widnes may have taken from their journey is that it might be made with the hosts’ Sam Tomkins in the stands.
Can Widnes pull off an upset against the Warriros?
However, the official Wigan Warriors website has since listed the 2012 Man of Steel as "Fully Fit," giving the visitors that much more to worry about in their pursuit of a major tournament upset.
Admittedly, Betts’ men would still find a win very unlikely against a Tomkins-less Wigan. It simply makes the encounter all that much tougher should he take to the pitch.
Pat Richards and Josh Charnley are just two other stars in the Wigan lineup likely to threaten major damage towards the Widnes defence.
This week’s away side faces an uphill battle at the DW Stadium.
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