Castleford Tigers are hoping to achieve a stunning reversal of form from their performance last Friday night against Leeds Rhinos, when they suffered a humiliating 6-60 home defeat, if they are to trouble the in-form Warrington Wolves in the second of the two Betfred Challenge Cup semi-finals to be played at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday afternoon.
It’s been a week of sober reflection for the Tigers after the magnitude of their shock defeat to the Rhinos, but if there are any positives to take from that result, it is that several key players who had been selected for the 21-man squad – Michael Shenton, Jake Trueman, Oliver Holmes and Nathan Massey – were left out of the matchday 17 and that is unlikely to happen again.
And the Tigers are also boosted by the recall of four other players to the 21-man squad – Niall Evalds, Adam Milner, Alex Foster and Gareth O’Brien – who clearly strengthen it. They replace the suspended George Griffin, as well as the out-of-form Danny Richardson, Greg Eden and rookie Lewis Peachey.
Nonetheless, they will still face a mighty battle if they are to upset Warrington, whose form coming into this weekend has been outstanding, prompted by the brilliance of scrum-half Gareth Widdop.
The only disappointment for Warrington has been the injury absence of the iconic Greg Inglis, and on Saturday they will also be missing forward Jason Clark, who is suffering from a calf injury.
But apart from that, Wolves coach Steve Price will be able to select from strength, with Cup sponsors Betfred pricing them at 4/11, with Castleford the outsiders at 5/2.
The Wolves have a proud record in the Challenge Cup in recent years, defeating St Helens at Wembley in 2019 on their most recent visit.
The two sides have already met twice in Super League this season, with both sides registering one victory, while the score stands at 5-5 in their last ten meetings.
The two sides have been drawn against each other seven times before in the Challenge Cup, with the Wolves winning four times (including a replay in 1972) and Castleford winning three. They have never before met in a Cup semi-final or final.
Castleford Tigers v Warrington Wolves
CASTLEFORD: 1 Niall Evalds, 2 Derrell Olpherts, 3 Peter Mata’utia, 4 Michael Shenton, 6 Jake Trueman, 8 Liam Watts, 9 Paul McShane, 11 Oliver Holmes, 12 Cheyse Blair, 13 Adam Milner, 14 Nathan Massey, 18 Jacques O’Neill, 19 Tyla Hepi, 20 James Clare, 21 Jesse Sene-Lefao, 22 Daniel Smith, 24 Suaia Matagi, 25 Jordan Turner, 28 Brad Martin, 31 Gareth O’Brien
Outs: 7 Danny Richardson, 15 George Griffin, 23 Greg Eden, 27 Lewis Peachey
Ins: 1 Niall Evalds, 13 Adam Milner, 17 Alex Foster, 31 Gareth O’Brien
WARRINGTON: 1 Stefan Ratchford, 2 Tom Lineham, 4 Toby King, 5 Josh Charnley, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Gareth Widdop, 8 Chris Hill, 9 Daryl Clark, 10 Mike Cooper, 11 Ben Currie, 12 Jack Hughes, 13 Joe Philbin, 15 Matt Davis, 16 Danny Walker, 18 Jake Mamo, 19 Rob Mulhern, 20 Sitaleki Akauola , 21 Rob Butler, 23 Josh Thewlis, 26 Ellis Longstaff, 27 Connor Wrench
Outs: 14 Jason Clark, 28 Nathan Roebuck.
Ins: 26 Ellis Longstaff, 27 Connor Wrench
Last ten meetings:
Warrington 38, Castleford 14 (SLR7, 22/5/21)
Castleford 21, Warrington 12 (SLR1, 28/3/21)
(at Emerald Headingley, Leeds)
Castleford 10, Warrington 12 (SLR12, 10/9/20)
(at Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens)
Warrington 9, Castleford 8 (SLR6, 6/3/20)
Warrington 12, Castleford 14 (SLEPO, 19/9/19)
Castleford 27, Warrington 18 (SLR23, 21/7/19)
Castleford 14, Warrington 26 (SLR14, 3/5/19)
Warrington 24, Castleford 10 (SLR5, 7/3/19)
Castleford 28, Warrington 18 (SLS8-R2, 17/8/18)
Warrington 30, Castleford 34 (SLR17, 8/6/18)
Previous Challenge Cup meetings:
1995 (Round 4) Warrington 17 Castleford 2
1993 (Round 1) Warrington 6 Castleford 21
1984 (Round 2) Castleford 23 Warrington 16
1979 (Round 1) Warrington 9 Castleford 15
1972 (Round 2, Replay) Warrington 11 Castleford 5
1972 (Round 2) Castleford 8 Warrington 8
1966 (Round 1) Warrington 15 Castleford 7
1947 (Quarter Final) Warrington 5 Castleford 0