Friday, June 27, 2014

2014 Challenge Cup

PICTURE BY ALEX WHITEHEAD/SWPIX.COM - Rugby League - Tetley's Challenge Cup - 4th Round Draw - Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, England - 08/04/13.

We are now at the semi final stage of 2014 Tetley's Challenge Cup and the betting market is really heating up. Betfair make the Leeds Rhinos their 6/4 favourites to win this year’s trophy and it would be no surprise to see the eleven time Challenge Cup winners land yet another title. The semi finalist are made up by the Warrington Wolves, Castleford Tigers and Widnes Vikings. The Vikings have been put in as the 10/1 outsiders to win land the big prize and it will take a monumental effort for Dennis Betts’s men to upset the odds this year. While the Vikings have previously won seven Challenge Cups, their last victory came back in the 1983-84 season and they have arguably done well to even reach this stage of the competition. The other two sides are quite closely matched as far as the odds compilers at Betfair are concerned, with the Warrington Wolves on offer at 2/1 and the Castleford Tigers at 11/4.

The Challenge Cup is a knockout competition for Rugby League clubs which although originally restricted to British teams is now also open to selected teams from both France and Russia. The competition began back in 1896 and has grown over the years to become one of the most prestigious tournaments in rugby. This year’s tournament was played over eight rounds and a total of 81 teams entered. The first round matches took place at the start of February and games have taken place on a monthly basis since with a draw being held at the conclusion of each round to determine who will face off in the following set of fixtures. Wigan were this year’s defending champions but they were knocked out of the competition by Castleford at the quarter final stage.

The Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi finals will take place over the weekend of the 9th and 10th of August. The first semi final will see the Leeds rhinos take on the Warrington Wolves and if the odds at Betfair are to be believed, this is set to be a seriously close match. Both sides have been in excellent form through the competition and the bookies are finding it difficult to separate the two teams. The winner of this match is likely to face the Castleford Tigers in the final as they have what looks on paper at least to be a relatively easy task against the Widnes Vikings.

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