WARRINGTON Wolves will finally get their Challenge Cup defence underway this weekend, more than a year since they lifted the trophy for a ninth time at Wembley.
In a repeat of last year’s final, when the Wolves upset heavy favourites St Helens, the two will go head-to-head again in the quarter-finals of the 2020 edition of rugby league’s oldest competition at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium.
The game will be played behind closed doors, and comes after the enforced withdrawals of non-Super League clubs and Toronto Wolfpack, meant that the original sixth round draw had to be ripped up and redrawn – to the benefit of the Wolves, who landed a bye as opposed to a tricky clash with Wigan.
Warrington beat St Helens 19-0 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium back in February, with the two now neck and neck on points at the top of the Super League table, and both unbeaten since the league restarted in August.
The Wolves squad is boosted by the return of several regulars who have missed the last two games – against Castleford and Hull – due to coronavirus protocols, though Gareth Widdop remains absent.
Winger Tom Lineham starts the eight-match ban handed down to him for a so-called squirrel grip, grabbing the testicles of Castleford’s Alex Foster in last week’s game.
St Helens welcome back centre Mark Percival, while England international James Graham will play against Warrington for the first time in nearly 10 years following his return from the NRL.
The game will be broadcast live on BBC One on Saturday, with a 2.30pm kick-off.
Warrington squad: Matty Ashton, Blake Austin, Keanan Brand, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Matt Davis, Anthony Gelling, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Toby King, Leilani Latu, Jake Mamo, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Ellis Robson, Danny Walker.
St Helens squad: Coote, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Taia, Peyroux, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Lees, Amor, Ashworth, Smith, Bentley, Welsby, Simm, Dodd, Graham.