Ben Barba to return for St Helens’ mouthwatering cup tie with Castleford

Ben Barba will be fit to return in time for St Helens’ huge Challenge Cup showdown with Castleford this weekend.

Barba missed the Saints’ win over Catalans last Friday after being stretchered off as a precaution during their recent win at Salford – but he is back for Saturday’s game in West Yorkshire as the Saints look to avenge last year’s cup loss to the Tigers and advance to the quarter-finals.

And that return is timely for the Saints and coach Justin Holbrook – who holds Saturday’s opponents in high regard.

“Benny Barba is fine and it’s good to report that everyone else came through the game ok,” Saints coach Holbrook said. “Cas will have a few back as well. They are a dangerous side and although we had a good result against them earlier in the season, that was a long time ago.

“They won’t have any issues in the halves with Luke Gale being out as Ben Roberts will be back and Jamie Ellis is a good player.

“It will be a tough game. It will be great to see as many Saints fans over there as possible. It’s a small venue with a small pitch, but the atmosphere will be a big one.”

And as they embark on the road to Wembley – and their aim to lift the sport’s most famous trophy for the first time since 2008 – Holbrook admits what they have done so far in the league means nothing this weekend.

“The whole year has been good so far but we have to do it again and that is the main thing. We can take confidence from the year to date but the reality is we have to do it again and are ready to do that,” he said.

“We want to do well in the cup and this is our first test.”