Kristian Woolf wants St Helens to rise to the “real challenge” that awaits them when they take on Huddersfield Giants in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals on Friday night (St Helens 2/11, Huddersfield 4/1, Tie 25/1 – Match Winner).
The Saints are the two-time reigning Betfred Super League champions and they have made a perfect start to the current campaign as well, winning their opening five league fixtures.
Woolf’s side also booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup by seeing off defending champions Leeds Rhinos in the last 16, but it is not a competition that they have enjoyed too much success in of late, as they have not lifted the trophy since 2008.
That 13-year drought is something St Helens will be keen to end this year and they can move a step closer to achieving that goal if they beat Huddersfield Giants at Headingley on Friday.
The two teams last met in the Betfred Super League just two weeks ago, with the Saints emerging as 18-10 victors, and Woolf is expecting a similar test in the cup.
“It is what the players want. They want a real challenge, a big game – it is what excites them,” Woolf was quoted as saying by the St Helens Star. “That is certainly what we are going to get this week.”
The match will kick off at 20:15 on Friday and it is one of two quarter-final ties taking place at Headingley that evening, with Catalans Dragons set to face off against Warrington Wolves in the 18:00 contest (Catalans 7/4, Warrington 1/2, Tie 20/1 – Match Winner).
Warrington were 24-8 victors when the two teams met in the Betfred Super League last month and the Wolves will come into the match having not lost since the opening weekend of the season.
There will also be familiar opponents renewing their rivalry in the first of Saturday’s two quarter-final ties, with Hull FC and Wigan Warriors set to meet at Headingley at 14:30 (Hull 13/8, Wigan 8/15, Tie 22/1 – Match Winner).
Wigan edged past Hull 16-14 in the Betfred Super League last week to preserve their winning start to the season, while the loss was the Airlie Birds first of the campaign and the 2017 Challenge Cup winners will no doubt be seeking revenge on Saturday.
The quarter finals will be rounded off at Headingley when Castleford Tigers take on last year’s beaten finalists Salford Red Devils at 17:00 on Saturday evening (Castleford 2/7, Salford 3/1, Tie 25/1 – Match Winner).
These two sides also recently met in the Betfred Super League and Castleford will be hoping for a repeat of the 28-18 victory they enjoyed at the AJ Bell Stadium last Friday.