General Challenge Cup 2018

Lord Gnome of Howick MBE

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Apr 30, 2012
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matiunz

This year yet?
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Jul 15, 2013
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What’s happened to Leeds this season?
 

Hardyman's Yugo

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Jun 2, 2017
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Lancashire, England
RL Hall of Famer Neil Fox has reportedly turned down an invitation to present the trophy at this years final, feeling it would (yet again) bring up the story of his late brothers last second conversion miss in the 1968 'water splash' final. Fifty years on and the story won't go away.
 

Lord Gnome of Howick MBE

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Apr 30, 2012
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https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-league/45260134

Challenge Cup final: Catalans beat Warrington 20-14 to win first trophy
By Ged Scott

BBC Sport at Wembley

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Relive Catalans' historic Challenge Cup win over Wolves
But in front of 50,672 - Wembley's lowest Challenge Cup final crowd since World War Two - former England coach Steve McNamara's Dragons were deserved winners.

Even allowing for the way they stunned Super League leaders St Helens right from the kick-off in the semi-final, Catalans would surely never have dared to dream they could make the sort of start they did at the national football stadium.

Stefan Ratchford did not deal with the first high ball, Benjamin Jullien offloaded and Tierney, son of dual code rugby legend Jason Robinson, was over in the right corner - scoring a try at Wembley, just as his dad did in 1995, with two against Leeds in the last of Wigan's famous eight successive wins.

After kicking the goal, Drinkwater quickly added two more points with a penalty.

And from 8-0 down with 10 minutes gone, suddenly it was an unexpectedly uphill battle for the Wire and there looked a distinct chance that the Dragons, beaten 30-8 here by St Helens in the first final at the rebuilt Wembley in 2007, might this time go one better.

Perhaps the idea that it might not be Warrington's day began to formulate when, in a short space of time, so many little first-half breaks failed to go their way.

Lineham had a try chalked off in the right corner, 37-year-old Benny Westwood briefly had to go off, Dragons forward Mickael Simon got away with a high shot and Roberts made a mess of a promising break when he threw a loose pass.

But luck finally turned their way when, from Ratchford's high ball, Daryl Clark put pressure on winger Fouad Yaha, who spilled backwards, and Murdoch-Masila was allowed to run in the easiest of tries under the posts.

Roberts' conversion cut the gap back to two points, only for Garcia to then dive over and, when Drinkwater successfully kicked again, restore that eight-point cushion.

Worse was to follow at the start of the second half for the Wolves when Tony Gigot's 40/20 kick to the left corner created the attacking platform for Wiliame to go over for the Dragons' third try.

King's try reduced the deficit, Roberts kicked the goal and then added a penalty to make it 20-14.

Despite Warrington's best efforts late on, the French defended frenetically and held on for the historic win.

And it was a particularly personal triumph for three Englishmen - try scorer Tierney, coach McNamara, a loser at Wembley as a player with Bradford in 1997, and hooker Michael McIlorum, who picked up his third winner's medal after successes with Wigan in 2011 and 2013.

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Catalans Dragons hooker Michael McIlorum told BBC Sport:

"It's unbelievable. It'll take a while to sink in but it will when we fly back and see the fans in Perpignan.

"The first three or four months of our season was one of the toughest periods of my career but it brought us closer together and we started working for each other and got our rewards.

"We made hard work of it today and kept dropping the ball but thankfully the boys dug in and we came away with a win."

Catalans Dragons captain Remi Casty told BBC Sport:

"The progression of the club and the team through the 11 years is awesome and a great achievement for Catalans and for rugby league in France.

"Warrington came back well but we never gave up and we kept fighting to win."

Warrington Wolves' Chris Hill told BBC Sport:

"It hurts, the first 20 minutes broke us. We weren't sensible enough and what they did to us was what we wanted to do to them.

"We have got to learn our lessons and got to stick together."

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Catalans Dragons are the only non-English side to feature in the final of the Challenge Cup
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While rugby league in France struggles for mainstream recognition, the game has a long history in the country
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Brayden Wiliame scored Catalans' third try to help seal the historic win
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Former England coach Steve McNamara guided Catalans to their first major piece of silverware in his first full season in charge
Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Tierney, Mead, Wiliame, Yaha; Langi, Drinkwater; Simon, McIlorum, Moa, Jullien, Garcia, Casty.

Interchanges: Bousquet, Baiteri, Goudemand, Edwards.

Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley; Brown, Roberts; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood.

Interchanges: Murdoch-Masila, King, Patton, Philbin.

Referee: Robert Hicks.
 

Hardyman's Yugo

1st Grade Fringe
Jun 2, 2017
3,558
Lancashire, England
I really hope the Catalans, Toulouse and the game in general can capitalise on this and give RL in France a bigger profile. It's nearly 80 years since the collaborator Vichy government ordered RL in France to merge with rah rah and stole all their assets
 

Lord Gnome of Howick MBE

Warriors 1st Grader
Apr 30, 2012
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https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-league/45322452

Red Star Belgrade to play in rugby league's Challenge Cup?

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Red Star Belgrade's success came just before the devastating break up of the former Yugoslavia
Red Star Belgrade - the club that lit up European football in the late-1980s and 1990s with stars like Dragan 'Piksi' Stojkovic, Dejan Savicevic and Robert Prosinecki - have a new mission: to lift rugby league's Challenge Cup.

Inspired by French side Catalans Dragons' success in winning the oldest knock-out trophy in the rugby league code, the Serbian club have formally applied to join the competition for 2019.

The sporting society at the Red Star club have backed the 13-man code, and now Red Star Belgrade Rugby League Club or 'Crvena Zvezda' as they are known in their native language - could take their first steps on the road to Wembley next year.

To prove their worth to the Rugby Football League, they have invited league clubs in Britain to challenge them to friendly matches and set up a membership scheme to raise funds to grow the sport.

In their heyday, before the former Yugoslavia dissolved into a devastating civil war that led to independence for its member states, Red Star Belgrade's football side won the the 1991 European Cup, and brought through talent that would go onto join the best in Europe.

Savicevic and Stojkovic played for AC Milan, while Prosinecki and Predrag Mijatovic wore the colours of Real Madrid, and Sinisa Mihailovic and Vladimir Jugovic were teammates at Sampdoria.
 
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