THE chances of a Yorkshire club reaching Wembley increased significantly after the region’s two remaining Challenge Cup competitors secured comparatively comfortable quarter-final draws.
Last year’s beaten finalists Leeds Rhinos head to Leigh – the only Championship club remaining – while Super League leaders Huddersfield Giants entertain struggling London Broncos.
However, holders Wigan Warriors face a testing examination against fierce rivals St Helens and fellow heavyweights Warrington Wolves and Catalan Dragons battle each other in Perpignan.
Leeds, who edged past Salford City Reds in the fifth round on Sunday, are naturally delighted with a tie which sees a repeat of the 1971 final.
They will, though, remain mindful of the damage other Championship clubs have caused so far this year with Featherstone Rovers eliminating Castleford Tigers before pushing Wigan close and fellow part-timers Batley Bulldogs falling just six points short of London on Sunday.
Rhinos’ England scrum-half Danny McGuire told the Yorkshire Post: “We’d be lying if we said we weren’t really happy with the draw.
“But again it is a potential banana skin. Leigh are one of the Championship’s top sides and, when we go there, we’ll be treating them as a Super League team.
“I’m not surprised with how well Fev have done; they’ve some good players and, in Daryl Powell, a good coach who I worked with at Leeds and again last year with England.
“Obviously, Batley have John Kear, the Challenge Cup coach who everyone knows can get players up for one-off games. They were unlucky not to beat London.
“We’ll be another chance for a lower division side to knock off a Super League team so we have to make sure we continue the form and consistency we’ve been showing of late.”
Huddersfield captain Kevin Brown, meanwhile, has his eyes set firmly on Saturday’s intriguing Super League encounter against Catalan in their own trip to France before contemplating the following weekend’s quarter-final.
However, given the tight 22-16 win at Batley was London’s first away success in almost 12 months, he knows his side sit in a solid position.
“We’re just glad to be at home and it’s a massive goal for us all to get to Wembley,” said Brown. “We’ve been there before but didn’t get the right result (in 2009) and I ended up injured so we’ve a lot to put right.”
Draw: Huddersfield v London, Catalan v Warrington, Leigh v Leeds, Wigan Warriors v St Helens. Matches to be played weekend of May 11-13.