Rugby Challenge Cup 2013: Start Time, Preview and Prediction
Saturday sees the rugby league Challenge Cup final between Hull FC and Wigan Warriors take place at Wembley Stadium.
Despite being a predominantly northern sport, the final of the most prestigious cup competition in English rugby league is traditionally held at the national stadium.
Who will win the 2013 Challenge Cup?
The Super League remains in full flow but the Challenge Cup takes the spotlight this weekend as thousands of fans from Yorkshire and Lancashire descend on the capital.
Who: Hull FC vs. Wigan Warriors
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
When: Saturday August 24 at 3 p.m. BST (10 a.m. ET)
Watch: BBC One, 2:15 p.m BST
Hull go into Saturday's match with a Wembley hoodoo to overturn, having never emerged triumphant from England's most famous venue. Their last Challenge Cup victory, against Leeds in 2005, came at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Wigan, on the other hand, have more recent success in the competition, having lifted the famous trophy in 2011 after a 28-18 victory over Leeds Rhinos.
Hull forward Joe Westerman will be playing in his first final since joining the club from his local team Castleford Tigers back in 2010.
He told BBC Sport:
This is why I left Cas [Castleford]. I feel it finally justifies my move. Players can go 10 or 15 years in their career and never play there [Wembley]—this is my chance.
No matter how I imagine it, I expect on the day it will be even better than I've dreamed.
Westerman will not be the only one excited for Saturday's clash, with both coaches set to lead their teams into a final at Wembley for the first time.
Warriors coach Shaun Wane was handed a new, extended contract earlier this week and he has the perfect opportunity to celebrate it by winning his first piece of silverware at the club.
Despite lying third in the Super League table, Wigan have been in poor form recently, losing five of their last seven league fixtures.
But Wane is completely focused on Saturday's game. He told the Wigan's official website:
The Challenge Cup final is big for the club, big for the town and all the spectators and we are all keen to go out and create history and bring back the cup.
Hull head into the final in excellent form, having won three successive games since beating Warrington Wolves in their Challenge Cup semi-final.
This followed criticism from Hull owner Adam Pearson about his side's league form, something coach Peter Gentle has addressed in spectacular fashion.
In an interview with The Independent, Gentle said of Saturday's final:
With [Hull boxer] Luke Campbell's gold at the Olympics and Hull City going back into the Premier League, this is a tremendous time for sport in our city. We want to play our part.
Shannon McDonnell, Tom Lineham, Ben Crooks, Kirk Yeaman and Joe Arundel are all injury doubts for Hull, while Sean O'Loughlin looks likely to be fit enough to captain Wigan.
The two sides met earlier in the season with Wigan winning 28-20 at the KC Stadium. They will also meet in their return league fixture just six days after Saturday's final.
Although Wigan remain favourites, they won't be able to shrug off their poor form against a Hull side buoyed by five wins in their last six games. Expect a tight affair and an upset for Gentle's men.
Hull FC 28-24 Wigan Warriors
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