Challenge Cup Final Preview

Written by Square in the Air

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On Saturday afternoon, Wembley will be opening its roof for this year’s Challenge Cup final between Hull KR and Leeds Rhinos. With the Capital’s top team, London Broncos, now playing in rugby league’s second tier, trips to London are a rarity for the sport’s big clubs. But, for Leeds, this is their fifth Challenge Cup final (at Wembley) in six years.

Compare that with their opponents Hull KR who are competing in their first cup final for 35 years and it might start to put the size of their task into perspective. Leeds, in that same period of time, have played in 10 finals.

Any chance of a close match between these two looked to be quashed when KR's two key halves, Terry Campese and the fiery Albert Kelly, were ruled out through injury. However, fast-recovering Kelly could still take to the pitch on Saturday, and he’s about KR’s only hope. Despite the Rovers throwing up an upset against Warrington in the semi-final, they did that with the help of Kelly, and his involvement is crucial for KR tomorrow. Granted, Hull have an aggressive pack, some committed forwards and experience running through the core of the team, but it's not going to be enough to hold off Leeds.

The Rhinos look stronger in almost every jersey from 1-17. Leeds boast the slickest hands in Super League and there’s no team more dangerous with the ball out wide.

If Hull have got any shot they'll need it to bucket down and hope that the likes of Maurice Blair and Tony Puletua bring their big-game experience to the fore. As a side story, watch out for the performances and emotions of Leeds’ Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock. The retiring pair have gained legendary status at the club and will be after as much glory as possible before hanging up their boots.

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