Close encounter expected in opening Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final

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The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-finals kick-off in style tonight, as Super League leaders Hull FC take on the most successful Challenge Cup side in history, Wigan Warriors, with a place in the Wembley final at stake.

While neither side are strangers to Challenge Cup finals at the national stadium, Wigan’s record of 19 Challenge Cup final victories can’t be touched by any other side in the country. And it’s that big game experience that could well carry them through tonight’s semi-final against the in-form Airlie Birds.

Tonight’s clash is a repeat of the 2013 final, which Wigan came out on top 16-0 at a soggy Wembley.

Conditions look set to be kinder for the ball handlers in Doncaster, and everything from league positions to the odds suggests we’re in for a close encounter, typical of knockout rugby league.

Both sides come into the game with two wins from their last four regular Super League matches, and they’ve shared a win apiece in games between each other this season.

In terms of match betting, the two sides can barely be split, with Wigan slight favourites at 4/5 to win in 80 minutes, and Hull 6/5.

The draw, meanwhile, is 18/1, a very real possibility given the two sides’ respective qualities. Any win looks like it will have to be well fought, and a Warriors victory by 1-5 points can be backed at 13/2.

Sam Tomkins made his long-awaited second Wigan debut against Hull earlier this season, with the England full-back managing three tries in eight games for the Cherry and Whites in Super League 2016.

His final-minute try in the 2013 final sealed the silverware for Wigan, and he is 10/1 to have the final say in tonight’s semi-final.

For Hull, their lynchpin has been scrum-half Marc Sneyd, the leading goal kicker in Super League this season. Sneyd requires a dominant pack to be at his most influential, and he’s had the pleasure of just that most of this year.  He can be backed at 7/1 to receive the man of the match award tonight.

For more Challenge Cup odds and specials click here.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Joe Whiteley

Joe is a Yorkshireman with a love for most sports, but especially rugby league, football and cricket. After realising he didn't have the strength, skill or hand-eye coordination to play any of those professionally, he completed a degree in Sports Journalism. He has since worked for sports publishers, newspapers and a professional rugby league club before joining Ladbrokes.