Rugby League: Testing time for Halifax

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The Independent Online
THE fourth round of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup - what used to be the first round before the mass

introduction of the amateurs this season - marks the entry of the big clubs, several of whom will go out this weekend.

One club with Wembley ambitions will make their exit this afternoon when Warrington, given a pounds 25,000 incentive to win the cup by their sponsors, go to Halifax.

Halifax have lacked consistency in the League and will see the cup as a chance to redeem themselves, but Warrington, with Bob Jackson back in their squad for the first time since October, should be good enough to escape with a narrow win.

The best tie tomorrow is at Wheldon Road, where Castleford must quickly rid themselves of the feeling that they can walk on water after their stunning destruction of Wigan last week if they are to dispose of Salford.

Leigh, on a high of their own after their first league win of the season, keep the same side for their trip to Sheffield Eagles.

Leigh's victims, St Helens, are one of the more vulnerable First

Division sides facing Second Division opposition. Not surprisingly, Eric Hughes makes changes against Huddersfield, with John Harrison and Gus O'Donnell losing their places.

London Crusaders, as they are to be known until they adopt the Broncos logo of their new owners at the end of the season, will be looking for a repeat of their Regal Trophy win when Featherstone visit Hendon again.

Perhaps the most closely watched side, however, will be the holders, Wigan, against Wakefield. John Dorahy exercised restraint in dropping only three players after the Castleford debacle. For all the trauma of that match, it is hard to imagine their six-year grip on the trophy being loosened just yet.

Emosi Koloto has been banned for three matches after being sent off in a reserve match and will miss last year's finalists Widnes' match at Bramley.

Shaun Wane, 29, the former Wigan and Leeds front-row forward, has been forced to retire because of a knee injury.

The broadcaster Harry Gration is to replace David Howes as the Rugby League's public affairs executive. Gration, anchorman on Look North and Radio 5's rugby league correspondent, will take up his post in early March.