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Craig Porter 3rd Jun 2009 - 16:18

Wembley beckons and our free bet winners

The semi-finalists for rugby league's Carnegie Challenge Cup have been decided and so have the winners of our free bet competition.

The draw pits Wigan against Warrington on 08 August and St Helens will play Huddersfield the following day in an exact repeat of the 2004 Challenge Cup semi-final draw.

On Friday we asked you which teams would be meeting each other in the Challenge Cup semi-finals and there were five £5 free bets to be won.

Congratulations to Lucky XIII and I Heart Pies who correctly predicted the quarter final winners and how they would come out of the bag for the semi-final draw. Their free bets are in their accounts for them to spend on this weekend's rugby league betting action.

So the old enemies of St Helens and Wigan have been kept apart, as many predicted they would be and it was an exciting Golden Point Extra Time drop goal from the boot of Lee Briers that saw Warrington knock the in-form Hull KR out of the Cup much to the surprise of most of our competition entrants.

Wigan will be glad to have drawn Warrington I would have thought. Not only because they are probably the team they've got the best chance of beating, although recent form might suggest the Wire are on the rise and Huddersfield the slide, but because it means their neutral semi-final could not be played at Warrington's home ground.

The Halliwell Jones Stadium, which has always put in my mind an image of the love-child of a certain ginger Spice Girl and Stereophonic's lead singer, has not been a good venue for the Warriors. Not only have they not beaten Warrington there but also failed to despatch the (at the time) lowly Catalans Dragons at this stage of the tournament two campaigns ago. We'll see if they have better luck at Widnes' Hobart Stadium.

Huddersfield are the team hoping to stop St Helens lifting the cup for a fourth consecutive season. Already at a disadvantage with the "neutrality" of the Warrington venue (just 10 short miles from Knowsley Road) they will do well to stop what will be a rampant and determined Saints side and avoid a repeat of the 46-6 drubbing they received in 2004.

Can St Helens make it four-in-a-row? Odds of 1/2 that they win the Challenge Cup suggest they can. For Huddersfield to overcome Saints and then go on to win the final there is 12/1 on offer.

There's little to split the other semi-finalists chances with Wigan at 4/1 to lift "their" cup for the 18th time while Warrington are a 9/2 shot.

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