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P.J. Murray 4th Aug 2011 - 15:35

Challenge Cup Semi-Final preview

This weekend see's one of the seminal weekends in the Rugby League calendar, the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers - Sunday 15:15 - live on BBC 2

The West Yorkshire derby on Sunday has to be the most enthralling of the two games as Leeds Rhinos look to salvage what has been a rather poor season.

Castleford are in bonus territory after a courageous win against Huddersfield in the quarter-final, Kirk Dixon proved to be the match winner with a massive 10 point haul in the 22-18 victory.

However the Rhinos were convincing in their quarter-final win over Hull FC. They ran out 16 point winners at 22-38 final score.

Leeds and Cas have met already this season and it was the Rhinos who ran out victors at 'The PROBIZ Coliseum'. But despite what looked to be a comfortable scoreline at 48-6 there were a few decisions that went against the home side. Terry Matterson is hoping his side can go all the way and win their fifth Challenge Cup before he returns to Australia at the end of the season.

Only a point separates the teams in the Super League at the minute, but Leeds will have the momentum of some big wins going into this match.

The Handicap favours the Rhinos who are minus eight points at 4/5while you can back the Tigers at Even money plus the points.  As a result you can back Leeds at 3/10 to win the game outright, while Castleford are 12/5 with a draw being 20/1.

Wigan v St Helens - Saturday 16:30 - live on BBC 2

Wigan's last encounter with St Helens saw them come away with a 32-10 victory in June that could well boost their confidence coming into this big clash. This is the first game of the weekend and both sides will be confident of booking their place in the showpiece match.

Wigan currently head the Engage Super League while St Helens aren't too far behind. The Warriors are 4/9 favourites to win the match while St Helens are 13/8 and the draw is 18/1.

Saints breezed into the finals, demolishing Hull KR 54-6, while Wigan ran out 20 point winners against Warrington with a 44-24 win.

This match is a six point handicap with the Warriors 10/11 minus the points. Both teams are holding aspirations of doing a league and cup double this season and this should create a full blooded affair. The halftime/fulltime result of Wigan/Wigan is a tad odds on at 10/11 while Wigan/St Helens is 8/1 and could prove to be a good bet.

For me it looks like a Leeds v Wigan final with both sides covering their respective handicaps.


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