It is the fifth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup as the eight sides who have survived the earlier rounds are joined by the top eight from last season’s Super League with a quarter final place up for grabs.

Four of the games will be televised starting on Thursday night with a home tie for Featherstone Rovers against cup holders Hull FC on SKY, with three ties taking place on Friday night, two on Saturday afternoon and two on Sunday.

The lowest ranked team in the competition Whitehaven have a magical trip to play the Catalans Dragons and will hope that they can cause one of the sensations of the last decade.

Hull FC are, once again, on the road to Wembley and looking to make it three consecutive wins of the famous old trophy, and reach their fourth final in the last six years. Despite sitting third in the Betfred Championship, after a great 2018, few give Featherstone Rovers any chance of springing a cup upset in the rounds opening game at the LD Nutrition Stadium in Thursday’s 19:35 kick off to be shown on SKY.  Hull FC are in the middle of a mini injury crisis and will be without a number of first team stars including Marc Sneyd, Albert Kelly, Scott Taylor and Jordan Abdull. Coach Radford is lilkely to play Connor and Tuimavave in the halves. Rovers are on a good run of form at the moment, despite losing last week in Toulouse, and this just might not be the walkover that some are predicting.

There are three games on Friday night with the mouth-watering prospect of the Leigh and Salford local derby being the game selected by SKY for transmission at 19:35. The Leigh Centurions have won their last eight league and cup games, rattling in some impressive scores, and come up against a Salford Red Devils side who sit in eighth spot in the Super League but who have shown plenty of inconsistency throughout the season so far. Niall Evalds is back in the Salford squad and is joined by forwards George Griffin, Lee Mossop and Mark Flanagan. Leigh will be looking to capitalise on home advantage and have plenty of players with Super League experience looking to grab a top flight scalp. Salford are the favourites for the win, but not by much.

At 19:45 there is another local derby in Kirklees as Huddersfield Giants face Wakefield Trinity at the John Smiths Stadium. The bookies are struggling to pick a winner but have made the visitors the slight favourites. The Giants welcome back talisman Danny Brough, returning after his suspension, and Jermaine McGillvary is also in the reckoning for a run out. Wakefield have Joe Arundel, Max Jowitt and Mason Caton-Brown back in the squad and they replace Grix, Huby and Jones-Bishop. This one is too close to call.

The final Friday night game is in Widnes where the Vikings take on Leeds Rhinos for the 20:00 kick off. The Rhinos have struggled to get the results at the Select Security Stadium and went down 23-6 there in the Super League encounter at the end of February. The Rhinos have also lost three of their last four games but the bookies have them as favourites to progress to the quarter finals. Widnes will be without loan signing Jimmy Keinhorst who the Rhinos don’t want cup tied and who they wouldn’t want to face. The Rhinos make one change with Mikolaj Oledzki replacing Brad Singleton who broke his hand against Warrington last weekend.

Saturday’s televised match on the BBC at 14:30 is a humdinger as Castleford Tigers entertain St Helens at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle as Super League’s top side visit the side sitting in fifth. Saints are the bookies favourites but the outcome is by no means a foregone conclusion. Saints have been sensational this season and welcome back Ben Barba after he missed out last weekend.  The Tigers are without Luke Gale who is long-term injured but will likely call on Ben Roberts to play a big role if they are to overcome Saints. Saints walloped Castelford earlier on the season but this one should be much closer.

The other Saturday kick-off, also at 14:30, is in the south of France where Whitehaven are massive outsiders to upset the Catalans Dragons. Championship One’s sixth placed side are 25/1 to beat their Super League opposition and come into the game having lost to the North Wales Crusaders last time out. The sides have only met once before, a 24-14 win for the Dragons in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup in 2007, the year when the French side made it all the way to Wembley.

The remaining two games are on Sunday with the BBC choosing the potential upset at the Halliwell-Jones where the top side in Championship One, Toronto Wolfpack, take on the Warrington Wolves. Warrington are on the back of an eight game winning run and are favourites to progress but if they are slightly off their game and Toronto play to their best ability then an upset is on the cards.

Also on Sunday Hull KR host the Wigan Warriors in the final game of the round. It’s second top against second bottom with all the smart money being placed on the Warriors who are strong favourites to get the win. The Warriors will be hoping for a second win of the season over the Robins after their comprehensive 44-6 win at the beginning of April.

There are a few other games being played this weekend in League One and the Championship;


15:00 Bradford Bulls v. London Skolars

15:00 Coventry Bears v. York City Knights


15:00 Barrow Raiders v. Dewsbury Rams

15:00 Sheffield Eagles v. London Broncos

15:00 West Wales Raiders v. Doncaster

Wherever you are watching your rugby this weekend, enjoy.


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