Griffiths plots cup upset

North Wales Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths believes his side could cause a major upset when they face Wigan in the Challenge Cup fourth round on Sunday.

The Crusaders reached the fourth round by defeating Toulouse 28-10 and landed a dream tie against the Warriors, with a win against the current holders likely to be one of the biggest cup shocks of all time.

Griffiths said: “We’re delighted with the draw. Before the match in Toulouse I told the lads that if we get through the rewards would be big – and it couldn’t have worked out any bigger for us than to have drawn Wigan.

“It’s one of the game’s oldest clubs against the newest and it’s an exciting tie for us. It gives the players the chance to rub shoulders with the cream of the crop.

“It’s a challenge and we’re under no illusions, but that’s the romance of the Cup. In 2000 I coached Wales when we went up against Australia and for 60 minutes of that game we led and were world champions and we hadn’t been given a hope – so I know anything is possible on the day.”

Despite the club only forming in December 2011, North Wales have already made an impressive impact in their fledgling existence in Co-operative Championship One and having secured victory in the first Welsh derby in almost 100 years on Easter Monday, Griffiths is confident his side will relish the challenge of taking on one of Rugby League’s superpowers.

“We know the situation and we know Wigan are a true world force in the game, but funny things can happen and as long as I get a good performance out of my lads then I’ll be satisfied with that,” said the charismatic coach.

“It’s a great opportunity for these players to launch themselves on a big stage and they deserve it. In three months we’ve gone from having no players, to taking on the defending cup winners.

“It’s been a whirlwind since December and everyone has worked their socks-off. People can easily forget how young this team is and there are already great signs that we could develop into a good side.

“It’s slightly surreal to think we’re playing Wigan but that’s the beauty of sport and that’s the reason we are all involved with the game – now we’re all looking forward to getting out there to take on the champions and giving it our best shot.”

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