Richard Marshall wants Halifax to embrace Challenge Cup intensity

Rugby League, as a sport, boasts some proud and fierce rivalries.

But perhaps one of the lesser documented rivalries is between two towns in West Yorkshire.

Featherstone and Halifax have been going to battle right since the Rovers were founded in 1902.

However, since 2010 the two teams have engaged in a competitive and quite often hostile environment that has seen this fixture become one of the most anticipated outside of Super League.

Having competed in and around the top of the Championship for some time, the intensity of this rivalry really hit new heights in 2010, when Fax defeated Rovers 23-22 to win the 2010 Championship Grand Final.

The ferocity hasn’t died down since.

On Thursday, the two sides will lock horns again with a passage to the Challenge Cup quarter-finals up for grabs, and it will take place in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

It’s a befitting showcase for a prestigious rivalry, and Halifax head coach Richard Marshall can’t wait.

“Games like this don’t come around too often for some of these young players,” Marshall told TotalRL.

“But my feet are firmly on the ground. I know what’s at stake, but they also know that it won’t make or break our season.

“There is a rivalry between the two teams and I think we can compete with them. Featherstone are ahead of us in terms of the competition and off the field at this moment in time, but we need to recognise where we are and develop.

“We played them on the first game of the season – I’ve looked over my notes to review the game during the week and the crowd was sensational.

“There’s never more than a few points between us and I envisage it being the same on Thursday – I just hope that we come out on the right side of the scoreline.”

The fixture is the start of an important weekend for Halifax’s sporting sides, with the town’s football team competing in a promotion play-off final.

Marshall is hoping that his side can help start a double whammy and boost the profile of the town as a result.

“Halifax gets quite a lot of media attention, there’s a lot of dramas and docusoaps based in Halifax, let’s hope we can have our own drama on Thursday.

“It’s great that the football team is doing so well, we have a great relationship with them, we train at the same college and we get on really well. I speak to their manager occasionally and we exchange our ideas and philosophies.

“We need to be like that, we’re one town and we’ve got two teams. We hope both are successful because we can live off the back of their success and vice versa.”