St Helens vs Catalans Dragons
- Sunday 5th August, 12:30pm
St Helens haven’t lost a game of rugby since mid-April, such is their hold on Super League this season. Combined with a fine run in the Challenge Cup, this could well be the season that they have been hoping to have for a few years now. The league leaders’ shield looks sewn up and they will fancy their chances in the Grand Final. However, the Challenge Cup could well be their first piece of silverware this term.
Catalans Dragons have shocked everybody by pulling around a wretched start to the season and qualifying for the Super 8s. They lost their first game in six last weekend against Wigan, but coach Steve McNamara rested some key players with half an eye on Sunday’s cup tie. As it happened, his second string battled well against the Cherry and Reds, only going down 25-20, despite playing half a game with 12 men.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
Of course Saints are the best side in European rugby league at the moment, but anything can happen in the cup. Ladbrokes' 11/4 on a Catalans win is certainly tempting in a two-horse race, particularly when the outsider is well rested.
That said, Catalans will have to go some to beat their foe at Bolton’s Macron Stadium. If you really fancy Saints but don’t like the straight winner odds, there’s 11/10 on them winning with a 12-point handicap or 8/13 on Saints/Saints in the half time/full time market.
Warrington Wolves vs Leeds Rhinos
- Sunday 5th August, 2:45pm
Warrington Wolves have been so close to firing on all cylinders this term. However, just when they start to put together a run, they slip up. Wire have won four of their last six, just being edged out by Saints 14-12 at the weekend. It was close though. It took a wonder kick from Danny Richardson to win it for the leaders, sending the ball over the bar from a mighty 54 metres in the final moments of the game.
Leeds Rhinos might have thought their luck was on the turn after a draw with Wakefield and a win over Widnes. They had lost their eight previous Super League outings, and returned to losing ways on Friday when Salford beat them 38-22. They must now fight for their Super League survival in the Qualifiers, but a Challenge Cup success would mean they could at least take something positive from the season.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
It’s difficult to know what Leeds’ priority is. They know they should succeed in the Qualifiers with ease, but losing is becoming a habit. Toronto will be no pushovers, and Widnes have spent big in order to retain their Super League status. With this in mind, they might not be as focused on the cup as they could be. A semi final, and potential final appearance are opportunities to pick up even more injuries, which could harm their Qualifiers campaign.
Warrington have enough class to take this game anyway, and could run riot if their opponents are anything less than fully committed. There is an inkling that this could be a big victory for Wolves, making 7/5 on them winning by 13 or more points seem a decent bet.
Warrington by 13+