Family affair for Leuluais

Widnes forward Macgraff Leuluai is hoping he can help drive his side into the last eight of the Carnegie Challenge Cup by defeating Hull FC when the two sides clash in a fifth round tie at Stobart Stadium on Saturday (3.00pm).

The Leuluai family will have divided loyalties come Challenge Cup weekend, with elder brother Thomas a key figure at Wigan Warriors and cousin Kylie Leuluai one of Leeds Rhinos’ impact men, but it was the career of Macgraff’s dad James that has the family talking currently.

“My dad played for Hull FC back in the 80s so there’s a big link between the clubs there,” said Leuluai. “I used to go and watch him playing and that makes the game a little more special for me.

“He’s a huge supporter of me playing, but I know my dad is a Hull FC fan as well so it would be good to get some bragging rights in that respect.

“It’s a really exciting game to be involved in and a massive game for the club. To be playing a Super League team is great and to get them at home is even better as it gives the fans a real bonus and also it’s giving them a glimpse of what’s to come in Super League next year.”

Having earned a Super League licence earlier this season, Widnes will be regular visitors to the KC Stadium for the next three years but Leuluai says this meeting between the teams is pivotal for the future of the players currently at the club.

“We’re going into Super League and we all want to play against the guys already there,” he said. “It’s massive for us to try and earn contracts to stay with the club next year and playing well against Hull is a good opportunity towards that so it should be a good game.

“They have some great players and Willie Tonga and Epalahame Lauaki are two guys I look up to and admire so I’m looking forward to playing against them and testing myself against them.

“We had a run of bad form after the Super League announcement and I think there was a lot of pressure around the club, but things have been picking up in recent weeks and training is going really well at the minute so we’re all in a confident mood.

“Progressing would be great for the players and the whole club and if we can put in a good performance on the day then there is no reason why we can’t do that.”

Tickets for the Carnegie Challenge Cup fifth round contest between Widnes Vikings and Hull FC at the Stobart Stadium on Saturday May 21 (3.00pm). Advance tickets for the game are available on 01514 952250 priced at £12 for adults and £6 for U16’s and OAP/Students. Cash turnstiles will be in operation on game day priced £15 and £10 respectively.

Tickets for the 2011 Carnegie Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 27 costs from £21 to £76 and are selling fast. Last year’s final was a sell-out and fans are advised to move quickly to secure their seat at the historic showpiece final. To book tickets call 0844 856 1113 or visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk

For more information about the Carnegie Challenge Cup visit www.carnegiechallengecup.co.uk

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