Challenge Cup Preview: 5th Round Predictions & Tips

Dave Kuzio:

The Challenge Cup reaches the fifth round this week with four Super League teams joining the competition. Check out our predictions & tips and see if you agree with our Rugby League expert.

READ MORE: Check out our free outright tips for the 2020 Challenge Cup

Challenge Cup Tips: Featherstone Rovers vs Hunslet (Friday, 19:30 GMT)

Two unbeaten sides lock horns in the Challenge Cup this Friday evening with Championship side Featherstone Rovers playing host to League 1 leaders Hunslet. Fev have yet to lose in the Championship following four games, they come into this game on the back of a 35-24 home win over Swinton Lions with Greg Worthington helping himself to four tries. Hunslet lead the way at the top of League 1 with two wins from two, they come into this clash on the back of a 29-6 success over North Wales Crusaders at the South Leeds Stadium. Featherstone booked their place in the fifth round with a narrow 18-16 win over Barrow, while Hunslet have been in the competition since round three and they have recorded wins over Coventry Bears and North Wales Crusaders. I’m going for the Championship side in this one, they should be fitter and stronger than Hunslet so I can’t see them having many problems.

Challenge Cup Tips: Wakefield Trinity vs Bradford Bulls (Friday, 19:45 GMT)

Bradford Bulls will be able to test how close they are from becoming a Super League side when they take on Wakefield Trinity at the Mobile Rocket Stadium on Friday. The Bulls have not been in Super League since their relegation in 2014 and this will see how far they have come and how much more work they need to do. The Bulls have had a mixed start to their Championship season, winning two and losing two of their opening four matches. They head into this clash on the back of a convincing 28-0 home win over Sheffield Eagles. Wakefield Trinity are an established Super League team and they occupy ninth on the league table with two wins from five. They went down 27-26 last weekend in golden-point extra-time at home to Hull FC. This is Trinity’s first involvement in this year’s tournament, while Bradford advanced from round four with a less than impressive 22-0 win over amateur side Underbank Rangers. It would be good for the game if Bradford won as it’s nice to see Championship sides close the gap on teams in Super League, but I cannot see it this weekend. Wakefield have too much experience and coach Chris Chester is likely to take this game seriously as the Challenge Cup is their best chance of winning any silverware. I cannot see Wakefield losing, but they have given Bradford 24 points start on the handicap and I don’t think it will be that comfortable for Trinity.

Challenge Cup Tips: Sheffield Eagles vs Workington Town (Sunday, 14:00 GMT)

Sheffield Eagles’ Brad Knowles (centre) lifts the trophy. (Photo by Paul Harding/PA Archive/PA Images)

Sheffield Eagles will be looking to put their league form behind them when they entertain Workington Town in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup. The Eagles have won just one game from their five Championship matches this season, as they sit 11th on the ladder. Their only win this season was a narrow 19-18 success over Batley Bulldogs, but they come into this clash on the back of a disappointing 28-0 loss at Bradford Bulls. Workington Town have only played two matches in League 1 this season with one win and one defeat. They opened up their campaign with a 24-6 win over Keighley Cougars, but they couldn’t make it back-to-back wins as they went down 30-22 away at Newcastle Thunder. Despite not being in great form, I think the Eagles will be fitter than Town and I’m backing them with the handicap.

Challenge Cup Tips: Hull Kingston Rovers vs Leigh Centurions (Sunday, 15:00 GMT)

Leigh Centurions have the opportunity to prove to everyone that they can live with teams from the Super League when they travel to take up Hull Kingston Rovers in the Challenge Cup on Sunday. The Centurions have yet to lose a game in the Championship this season. They have won all four games they have competed in, and they come into this cup clash on the back of a 34-20 win over Halifax with Cameron Scott crossing for a hat-trick of tries. Hull KR, on the other hand, are struggling in Super League this season. They have lost five matches in succession after winning their season opener against Wakefield Trinity. They have also picked up a long list of injuries and come into this game on the back of a 30-16 defeat against Wigan Warriors. The Robins put in a decent shift against the Warriors, but injures played its part. I just think they are down on troops for this one, so I’m going for the Championship side to get a major scalp and advance to the sixth round.

Challenge Cup Tips: Newcastle Thunder vs Dewsbury Rams (Sunday, 15:00 GMT)

Dewsbury Rams have had a decent start to their Championship campaign and they will be looking to take their league form into their Challenge Cup tie away at Newcastle Thunder. The Rams have won three of their four Championship games this season. They come into this game on the back of a 24-6 away success at Oldham with Andrew Gabriel, Connor Scott, Joe Martin and Will Oakes crossing for tries. The Thunder are unbeaten in League 1 this season, they started their season with a 28-8 win away at Coventry Bears before beating Workington Town 30-22 on home soil. The Rams booked their place in the fifth round with a 22-16 win over Whitehaven on Wednesday night, while the Thunder edged past Siddal 30-10. I’m backing Dewsbury to win this one.

Challenge Cup Tips: Widnes Vikings vs Swinton Lions (Sunday, 15:00 GMT)

Widnes Vikings have a glorious past in the Challenge Cup, despite not winning it since 1984. They have won the trophy on seven different occasions, but they have not reached the final since 1993. Tim Sheens’ men are sat in fifth position having picked up three wins from their opening five matches. They ran in seven tries last weekend when they ran out 40-16 winners over Whitehaven, with Joe Lyons bagging a brace. Swinton’s start to their Championship campaign has been hit by the weather and they have only played three times. During those three games, they have won just one and come into this cup contest on the back of 35-24 loss away at Featherstone Rovers. Widnes are well coached and they look good at the moment, so I’m backing the Vikings to win this with the handicap.

Challenge Cup Tips: York City Knights vs Rochdale Hornets (Sunday, 15:00 GMT)

York City Knights come into this Challenge Cup clash against League 1 side Rochdale Hornets without a single league win to their name. They are rooted to the foot of the table, having lost all four games in 2020. They pushed London Broncos all the way last weekend, but ultimately went down 18-12. They will be very disappointed with that, seeing as they recently knocked the Broncos out of the Challenge Cup with a 24-22 win in the fourth round. Rochdale Hornets have only played one league game and two Challenge Cup games this season, but they have yet to lose. In the fourth round, they ran in 10 tries with Ben Calland scoring three in a 54-10 win over the British Army. I’m going for an upset in this one, winning breeds confidence and I’m backing the League 1 Hornets to advance to round six.