Sharp envisages more Challenge Cup shocks

Featherstone Rovers head coach Jon Sharp believes that the number of Championship clubs knocking out Super League opponents in the Challenge Cup could rise in the near future.

Cup shocks have been few and far between in recent years, with Featherstone one of very few Championship clubs to shock higher-ranked opposition when they overcame Castleford in 2012.

However, last year saw Leigh defeat Wakefield and Salford whilst Fev and Batley almost caused upsets against Catalans and Widnes respectively.

And Sharp believes that the improvement being made by second-tier clubs will lead to more surprising results going forward.

“Championship teams beating Super League teams on their day in the Challenge Cup isn’t unthinkable anymore,” said Sharp.

“With the added funding for making the top four you can recruit better and bridge the gap. It makes the likelihood of Challenge Cup upsets more likely to happen.

“There should be a trickle effect with regards to the quality of the Championship improving. With the funding the competition is getting stronger, and we’re now seeing Super League players come to the Championship because they can see just how tough the competition is. It’s invigorated that market for Championship clubs.”