“Gaz Ellis deserves to play in every final”

Drew Darbyshire

Jake Connor couldn’t speak highly enough of Hull team-mate Gaz Ellis as they prepare to face Warrington in the Challenge Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

The Challenge Cup semi-finals take place at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday, with Hull FC facing Warrington in the first game and St Helens taking on Halifax in the second. The Women’s Challenge Cup final between Castleford and Leeds takes place beforehand.

Ellis, 38, came out of retirement earlier this year to help Hull’s injury crisis – and he is set to play on next year.

Speaking of the former Great Britain and England forward, Connor told loverugbyleague.com: “I was gutted when he retired.

“I remember the first game he came back and we played Wigan. He came on the field, defended next to me and he shot out of the line and I thought ‘oh my god, he’s 38 and still whacking people!’

“He’s still massive for us. He’s playing like he’s never played before – he’s in very good form.

“We played Leeds on Sunday and he was at it again, bashing people. He loves these big occasions and I think that’s what he missed the most, he deserves to be in every single one of them.”

The Airlie Birds won back-to-back Challenge Cup titles in 2016 and 2017, with the majority of those winners still playing under coach Lee Radford.

And Connor believes experience will be crucial for Hull if they are to reach Wembley once again.

He added: “The experienced players will be massive for us and their experience will help us – that’s what they’re there for.

“I think we’ve got one of the best experienced heads in the competition in Marc Sneyd. He’s not the most flamboyant half-back but he knows how to get a game ticking. His kicking game is his biggest attribute and you need it in games like this.

“He’s not going to run through a brick wall but he will kick and put teams in spots they don’t want to be in. We will get behind him and does his best.

“I’ve never played at Bolton before but from just looking at the field, it looks pretty big and the stadium’s in good shape. Hopefully we can get a lot of fans in here and it’s going to be an exciting day.”

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