Hull take on Leeds Rhinos at a sold-out Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow looking to make it back to back Challenge Cup Semi-Final wins. It really is a mouth-watering clash with both sides almost at full strength and Hull FC fans set to outnumber their Rhinos counterparts two to one. Since Hull FC dismantled Castleford 6 weeks ago everyone has been looking forward to this game. Hull fans camped overnight at the KCOM Stadium to secure the best seats and social media has been buzzing all week ahead of the game.
Hull have won their last four Challenge Cup semi-finals dating back to 2005 and of course they defeated the Rhinos in the 2005 final at the Millennium Stadium but it has to be said Leeds are Hull’s bogey team so it really is a tough one to call.
Lee Radford’s side looked to be stuck in a rut of poor form when they lost three consecutive away games but they got back on the horse last week with an important 14-10 win over Huddersfield which secured 3rd place in Super League going into the Super 8’S. They weren’t convincing by any means but their Captain Gareth Ellis did return and put in a Man of the Match performance which is a massive boost for Hull.
Radford and some of the players like Scott Taylor have been quick to emphasise how important last week’s win was to give them confidence ahead of tomorrow’s game. Let’s hope they put their words into action tomorrow.
It’s well known that Leeds are Hull’s bogey side. The Rhinos have won the last 8 encounters with Lee Radford’s side and that has to be a worry. That run continued a couple of weeks ago when Hull were narrowly beaten 10-7 at Headingley a ground they have not won at for ten years. The positive that can be taken from that result though is that Hull should have won. They had a certain try disallowed and didn’t respect the ball anywhere near enough.
They smartened their game up last week against Huddersfield and if they can do the same tomorrow they may well break the hoodoo and what a time it would be to do so! Leeds will be confident they have the Indian sign over Hull and they have been in good form themselves recently so it’s sure to be a nail biting tight affair between two of Super League’s best sides.
Both sides are at virtually full strength going into the game which is good to see as it makes it even more of a mouth-watering yet nerve wracking game on paper.
Hull are unchanged from last week with Albert Kelly again named in the squad. Unlike last week he is certain to play tomorrow and that is a massive boost for Lee Radford and his side. It’s likely that Jake Connor will make way for Kelly and probably move onto the bench.
Leeds were missing several first team players last week. In fact the team that was hammered 34-0 at Wigan was almost unrecognisable and it’s no surprise that all of their fit stars are back in the squad for tomorrow.
Hull FC: Shaul, Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Minichiello, Ellis, Connor, Green, Washbrook, Manu, Bowden, Fash, Matongo
Leeds Rhinos: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Parcell, Cuthbertson, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Garbutt, Keinhorst, Ferres, Mullally, Lilley, Jordan-Roberts