Challenge Cup quarter-finals team news and statistics

Last Updated June 02 2018, 14:16Rugby League
Tom Makinson and St Helens celebrate
Tom Makinson and St Helens celebrate

Get team news, head-to-head statistics and more ahead of Sunday's Challenge Cup quarter-final between St Helens and Hull.

St Helens v Hull

Kick-off: 3.30pm, Sunday

St Helens have winger Tommy Makinson returning from injury in place of Adam Swift in the only change to the team that won at Castleford. Full-back Ben Barba has shaken off a leg injury sustained in that match.

Hull are boosted by the return from injury of centre Carlos Tuimavave, stand-off Albert Kelly and prop Scott Taylor, while utility back Jake Connor has overcome a knee injury and winger Bureta Faraimo returns from suspension.

Last season: No corresponding fixture.

Top tryscorers: Ryan Morgan (St Helens) 4; Jamie Shaul (Hull) 2

Top goalscorers: Danny Richardson (St Helens) 9, Jake Connor (Hull) 7.

Referee: B Thaler.

Holbrook eyes Wembley place

Justin Holbrook has just celebrated the first anniversary of his arrival at St Helens but he did not need to be told that it is 10 years since his club's last Wembley appearance.

The Betfred Super League leaders are the bookmakers' favourites to end their barren run but they must first get past Challenge Cup holders Hull FC, who are aiming to match the feat of Saints by winning at Wembley in three successive years.

It was against Hull in 2008 that Saints completed the hat-trick and they will have home advantage in Sunday's last quarter-final.

"I knew as soon as I joined the club that it was 10 years since they had been to Wembley," said Holbrook, the 42-year-old Australian who has transformed the fortunes of St Helens in 12 months.

"It was something we spoke about as a group at the start of pre-season so we are aware of it, that's for sure, but we also know there is a long way to go yet.

"It's exciting because it's a different competition. We treated it differently against Castleford (in the last round) a few weeks ago.

"It is another game against one of the same teams you play against in your competition but it is different.

"You have to acknowledge that it does mean more, but you also want to play the same.

"The team are aware it is something special but the way we play has to be the same."

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook

Hull were without their entire first-choice back row because of injury when they lost 26-12 at the Totally Wicked Stadium in the league in April and they return there on Sunday still under strength.

However, stand-off Albert Kelly and England prop Scott Taylor are poised to return from injury and winger Bureta Faraimo is back from suspension and Holbrook is expecting a tough battle from Lee Radford's men.

"Hull may have a few out but their forward pack is very strong and they have a very smart hooker," he said. "Their back three are really strong too.

"They won't be far off and have won it for the last two years. It will be a tough game.

"Radders knows how to get them up for this competition. They weren't sitting top last year but still went on to win it. They will be preparing to do it again."

Hull have not lost in the Challenge Cup since going out at the quarter-final stage in 2015 to eventual winners Leeds but Radford says he is happy with the underdog tag.

"If you're a pundit, a gambler, a general rugby league fan, I know which way I'd be going," Radford said.

"But that's the beauty of our sport and what we get up in a morning for, to try and shove that in people's faces and that's what Hull will be trying to do on Sunday.

"We did this last year with Castleford, nobody could get a glove on Castleford last year but we put them to bed so that's the goal."

The draw for the semi-finals, to be played as a double-header at Bolton's Macron Stadium on Sunday, August 5, will be made after Saints' game.

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