Trio look up for the Cup

  • By: Ian Millward
  • Last Updated: April 19 2013, 10:47 BST

Our columnist Ian Millward previews this weekend's action in the Tetley's Challenge Cup.

Millward: Fancies a Challenge Cup treble
Millward: Fancies a Challenge Cup treble

He has selected out a treble of Super League outfits, who are expected to cover pretty hefty starts against inferior opposition.

He also gives us his views on the ANZAC Test match which takes place on Friday morning.

Friday

Australia v New Zealand (+18) (1035BST)

Australia have a fantastic record in this ANZAC Day Test and they have won the last 10 and on average have only conceded 10 points per game whilst scoring 34. There have been no changes to the key players in key positions from previous seasons and all of them are fit and available for selection. New Zealand have had a few disruptions and are a younger squad which all points to an Australian victory and they can cover the start.

Widnes v Doncaster (+54) (2000BST)

I think Doncaster will find the change of surface at Widnes just as tough as Super League teams do. I think that it is really important for teams like Widnes to get a win, some good combinations and form this weekend. Rhys Hanbury is out though for them and they don't bring Gareth Hock or Hep Cahill back either but I do think they can cover the start. Their point-scoring at home is very good and that should give them a great chance.

Wigan v Leigh (+60) (2000BST)

My first thought was that Wigan are the form team of Super League and the handicap looked fair. But there will be a lot of emotion in this for Leigh though as it is a local derby and I can see them scoring a try as well. So Wigan to win but Leigh with the points looks the way to go considering Blake Green and Michael Michael McIlorum are out for the Warriors.

Saturday

Hull KR (+6) v St Helens (1430BST)

Hull KR have won their last four appearances at home against Saints but the return of Tony Puletua and Ade Gardner will help them. Travis Burns is back for the hosts so they are at full strength but St Helens still have some notable players out and this makes it a tough ask. It will be a rare game for them as they will have to try and grind out the win - I think they are up to it and can win and cover - but with some apprehension.

London v Featherstone (+20) (1500BST)

This is going to be tough one and there is not a lot in this. London played Batley last year and Batley won on the handicap - Featherstone are a better team. Both teams are at full strength but I am going to take London only because they have a little more size in their forwards and Kieran Dixon, who is scoring tries for fun, could be the difference.

Hemel (+68) v Wakefield (1800BST)

It is hard to gauge the form here and there are rumours that Wakefield could rest a few players. The opposition are obviously not as good and you would think that the better young players for the Wildcats would be better than the Hemel equivalent. So Wakefield to win and cover as they will be too strong over the 80 minutes.

Sunday

Hull v North Wales (+62) (1300BST)

This will hinge on who Hull rest and who they play. The young players will be desperate for a run in the game and they have a great record at home regardless of who they pick. Hull to win and cover as their overall depth of squad is too strong.

Hunslet (+50) v Catalan (1300BST)

This is an interesting game as Hunslet's ground is quite tight which can restrict points. It also gets very windy and that can make conditions tough. I am going for Catalan based on their size but it is a road journey for them and it could be touch and go - they can just cover.

Batley (+32) v Huddersfield (1500BST)

I know Huddersfield are going to pick a strong team as they respect the hosts - they have met in previous seasons and the Bulldogs have given them a fright. The Giants will go there with a bit of trepidation but after making plenty of noise about picking a stronger team they should win and cover.

Gloucestershire (+72) v Salford (1500BST)

This will be Brian Noble's first game in charge at Salford so the players will want to put their best foot forward regardless of the opposition. There is some talk of Salford resting a couple of players and it is a lot of points to cover. But bear in mind that Super League teams have very good goal-kickers who can turn the fours into sixes. Salford to win and cover.

Keighley (+50) v Warrington (1500BST)

This is another tricky one as Keighley's ground is also very narrow which could make it tough for Warrington to get points. Warrington could have some key players out and may need to rest some others with injuries in the squad. They do need a good victory here though to get some confidence and I will stick with them to win and cover.

Rochdale (+60) v Bradford (1500BST)

If Bradford pick their big guns like Jarrod Sammutt and Brett Kearney they will have points galore in them. Rochdale could be a nuisance but it all depends on how much ball they get - if it is not enough, then points will mount up very quickly against them. I'm going for Bradford as they don't have a big squad so are likely to play near their best team and will score the points necessary to cover the start.

  • Preview posted at 2145 BST on 18/04/2013.