Rugby League: St Helens must overcome Wigan in Challenge Cup

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The Independent Online
The winners of last year's Silk Cut Challenge Cup, St Helens, must beat the side they displaced if they are to make further progress in this, the 100th season of the competition.

Saints were drawn at home to Wigan, Cup winners in the previous eight seasons, in what was easily the outstanding tie of last night's fourth- round draw. Even allowing for home advantage and their aggregate win over Wigan in the Winter Challenge, Saints would have preferred to avoid their oldest rivals at this early stage of their defence.

The same applies in reverse, although the Wigan coach, Graeme West, was philosophical. "It's a hell of a big game first off, but if you want to get to Wembley, you've got to be able to beat anyone who stands in your way," said West, who believes that the winter balance of power will prove irrelevant. "We had a very young side out against Saints and this will be totally different," he said.

Last season's beaten finalists, the Bradford Bulls, must make the short journey to Hunslet. The one amateur side to fight their way through to this stage of the competition, Dudley Hill, who are also based in Bradford, are not so lucky. Their third-round victory at York has earned them a trip to the professional code's northern outpost at Carlisle. "It's not ideal," admitted the Dudley Hill secretary, Mark Tordoff, after the draw at Headingley. "But I'd still like to think that we'll be back here for the fifth-round draw."

Paris St-Germain, included in the Cup draw for the first time, will be at Batley, while the relocated and renamed Lancashire Lynx will host the London Broncos. The club, formerly known as Chorley, are moving into Preston North End's ground at Deepdale.

The only other all-Super League tie is between Castleford and Salford. Elsewhere there are a number of ties between First and Second Division clubs after which the losers might reflect that entry into the new Plate competition - and which also ends at Wembley on the big day in May - is not a bad consolation prize.

Draw, Digest, page 23

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