Challenge Cup Preview: Catalan v Hull FC (Sat)

Catalan

Catalan have brought Leon Pryce, Steve Menzies, Mickael Simon, Jamal Fakir and Daryl Millard back into their matchday squad because of injuries and suspensions.

Julian Bousquet and Mathias Pala are both banned, while Elliott Whitehead is cup-tied after featuring for Bradford in the previous round.

The Dragons were losing finalists in the 2007 Challenge Cup, beaten 30-8 by St Helens for whom current player Pryce was a squad member.

The French side have won their last three home meetings with Hull FC, with the Black and Whites’ last away win against Catalan coming 28-14 on 15 May, 2010.

Hull FC

Hull FC have recalled centre Ben Crooks to the squad, with prop Paul Johnson stepping aside.

The 20-year-old, who’s father Lee was a try-scoring winner in the 1982 Challenge Cup final replay, has scored seven tries in his last two games.

Although Crooks could be key, Airlie Birds head coach Peter Gentle says the influence of his more senior players will be vital on Saturday.

Gentle told www.hullfc.com, “It’s extremely important in a Challenge Cup quarter final that your senior players stand up and lead the way.

“They’ve done that this week at training and we’ll need more of the same at the weekend. The likes of Gareth Ellis, Ben Galea, Danny Tickle and Jacob Miller have all had two or three games in the side now and they’re starting to build some combinations.”

Hull FC have featured in 14 Challenge Cup finals, winning just three – the last of which came in 2005 against Leeds Rhinos at Cardiff.

Catalan 19-man squad: Blanch, Pryce, Taia, Bosc, Dureau, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Mounis, Maria, Pelissier, Larroyer, Millard, Simon, Fakir, Paea, Duport, Vaccari, Escare.

Hull FC 19-man squad: Arundel, Briscoe, Crooks, Ellis, Galea, Green, Heremaia, Houghton, Lineham, Lynch, Miller, McDonnell, O’Meley, Pitts, Tickle, Watts, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.

Stats:

These two sides have met once before in the Challenge Cup and as with tomorrow’s tie it was also a quarter-final. Catalan came out on top back in June 2007 with a 26-23 away win at the KC Stadium.

Last meeting:

Catalan 30–4 Hull FC (Super League Round 18, 08/06/2013)

Prediction:

Hull FC‘s season has taken a turn for the worst after five consecutive defeats, but in a cup game form goes out of the window. Away win.

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