Saints hoping for lucky number 13

Saints coach Justin Holbrook
Saints coach Justin Holbrook
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Saints, who have lifted the coveted RL Challenge Cup on no fewer than 12 occasions, will be hoping 13 will be their luck number this year.

The draw for the sixth round of tournament, which dates back to the 1896-97 season when Batley defeated St Helens 10-3 in the Headingley final, will be made live during the Chris Evans breakfast show on Radio 2 from 8.10am on Wednesday and Justin Holbrook’s side will be keeping their fingers crossed that they land a favourable tie, especially if they have home advantage.

The Aussie head coach will be trying to follow in the footsteps of fellow countrymen, Shaun McRae, Ian Millward and Daniel Anderson, who had seven Challenge Cup triumphs between them (1996, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008).

It will be Holbrook’s first experience of the magic which surrounds any club reaching the Mecca of English sport - having taken over the reins at the Totally Wicked Stadium the week after Saints were thrashed 53-10 at Castleford in last year’s competition.

He said yesterday: “I’m fully aware that we haven’t reached a Challenge Cup Final since beating Hull FC at Wembley 10 years ago and I also know how much this particular trophy means to the club and fans.

“It goes without saying that we definitely want to win it but all the other clubs involved will react similarly,” said Holbrook.

He added: “We are still a long way off reaching the final but the players know what I expect from them and at the end of the day it is down to how they perform.”

Joining radio presenter Evans in the studio will be Warrington Wolves’ new signing and two-times Challenge Cup winner Josh Charnley, who lifted the trophy with former club Wigan Warriors in 2011 and 2013 and veteran forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who was part of the Leeds Rhinos’ squad that ended their search for a Cup final victory at new Wembley in 2014.

Entering the draw at this stage are 2017 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup winners Hull FC and last year’s finalists Wigan Warriors alongside the remaining Betfred Super League sides and eight winning sides from the fifth round of the competition.