Preview: St Helens v Hull FC

Challenge Cup Sixth Round – Sunday 08th March – St Helens v Hull FC – Langtree Park

Hull FC travel to Langtree Park on Sunday afternoon to take on St Helens in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup.

The Black and Whites are currently seven wins from their last eight games in Super League and enter this tie as the form team in the competition.

Though the old cliche says form goes out the window in a cup game, and this should be a cracker. The weather forecast is good and we should see some fast flowing rugby despite Hull losing two of their stars – Pritchard and Manu – to the Pacific Test yesterday.

Minichiello and Ellis though are back from injury and suspension, and you’d imagine if Hull turn up with the right attitude then victory will follow.

Add to that Danny Houghton and Marc Sneyd in the form of their lives, and with Carlos Tuimavave also named in the provisional squad, Hull will fancy their chances at a venue where they’ve come back triumphant from three times in a row.

Hull also boast in-form fullback Jamie Shaul in their ranks plus a whole host of young eager forwards.

St Helens have Jonny Lomax back and are a quality side. Hull got the better of them last month by the narrowest of margins.

A Sneyd drop goal won the game, but there was nothing in it, and I’d expect a similar scenario on Sunday afternoon.

The Opposition

St Helens currently sit in fifth position on the Super League ladder. They have some injuries (like most of the comps sides) but rather than certain outfits have chosen to just get on with it.

There’s a soft spot between Hull and Saints. Some will recall the 2005 Challenge Cup semi-final. In my opinion the greatest Hull FC performance of all-time as we dominated the game and won 34-8.

Afterwards the fans of St Helens applauded Hull FC on the way back to their coaches. It was moving tribute and showed the good relationship the two clubs have.

After winning finals in 2006 and 2008 against us it’s always nice to get one over Saints, and this should be a great contest.

Squads

Hull: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Mahe Fonua, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Leon Pryce, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Liam Watts, 11. Gareth Ellis, 12. Mark Minichiello, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Dean Hadley, 20. Curtis Naughton, 22. Josh Bowden, 24. Kirk Yeaman, 25. Jansin Turgut, 30. Danny Washbrook.

St Helens: 1. Jonny Lomax, 4. Mark Percival, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Lama Tasi, 15. Greg Richards, 18. Dominque Peyroux, 19. Theo Fages, 20. Joe Greenwood, 21. Matty Dawson, 22. Jack Owens, 23. Shannon McDonnell, 27. Jack Ashworth, 28. Morgan Knowles.

Club Tags

– St Helens fullback Shannon McDonnell had one season at Hull FC in 2013 before a hamstring injury cruelly ended an impressive debut year.
– Jordan Turner spent three years at Hull, and scored a hat-trick in the 2012 Good Friday Hull Derby.
– Leon Pryce was in the St Helens 2006 Grand Final side that beat Hull FC. Coaches Lee Radford and Kieran Cunningham also played.

Key Battles

Danny Houghton vs James Roby: If you let Roby get a roll on he’ll tear you to pieces and the same can be said of Houghton. A hookers performance usually depends on their forward pack. If Hull can get on top and win the collusions and rucks then Houghton’s scooting and kicking games could prove crucial to any potential victory.

Scott Taylor / Liam Watts vs Alex Walmsley / Kyle Amor: The battle of the big men. This could be a fascinating contest. Hull’s interchange is arguably just as good too with Green and Bowden in great form. That could tell as the game progresses.

Marc Sneyd vs Luke Walsh: Sneyd has been magnificent in recent weeks and is currently up for Super League Player of the Month – an accolade he fully deserves. Luke Walsh meanwhile has been hit and miss. Again, a lot rests on Sneyd’s shoulders at St Helens and he must distribute, kick and take on the line. If Hull get a similar performance from him to last time he visited Langtree Park then they’ll certainly fancy their chances.

Statto’s Corner

– Of their previous six visits to Langtree Park Hull FC have won four of them, drawn one and just just once
– The last two cup fixtures between the two sides have been huge. Hull’s victory in 2005 put them into the final, whereas Saints in 2008 beat Hull in the final.

Prediction

It will be tight, testing and it might not all go to plan, but Hull will win – by four.

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About Dan Tomlinson 1639 Articles
Editor of Up the Cream. Once upon a time I looked like my profile pic.

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