“It’s going to be amazing” – James Roby on 45,000 in attendance for Challenge Cup final

St Helens skipper James Roby says it will be a refreshing change to play in front of 45,000 fans in the Challenge Cup final this weekend, with the game at Wembley being a pilot event.

The reigning Super League champions take on Castleford in the Challenge Cup final on Saturday, with the match being designated by the Government as a pilot event in the battle with Covid-19, so 45,000 fans will be allowed to attend.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Roby said. “It’s been great just getting the 4,000 we’ve been allowed here at the stadium, but to go down to Wembley and play in front of 10 times that, it will be such a refreshing change.

“It’s going to be brilliant for us as players and we’ll really feed off the atmosphere.”

Roby will be spurred on by the thought that he could be playing at Wembley for the last time when he leads his side out against the Tigers.

The 35-year-old England hooker, who is the only Saints player to have won the Cup, played in the traditional schoolboy curtain-raiser at the old Wembley in 1997 and made history by scoring the first try at the new-look national stadium 10 years later.This will be his fifth Cup final appearance but possibly his last as he reaches the twilight of his distinguished career.“I know this could be my last chance and I’m going to try my best to savour it, but at the same time I don’t want to enjoy it too much because I’ve got a job to do,” Roby said.

“It’s fair to say that, at the back end of my career, you never really know many more finals you’re going to get to, so you’ve got to make the most of it.”

Roby helped his hometown club complete a hat-trick of Cup final victories with a 28-16 win over Hull in 2008 and never dreamt that, 13 years on, he would be still waiting for his next winners’ medal.

“As a young player, I came into a team that was very successful and I probably took success for granted,” he said.

“We were riding that crest of a wave for a few years and I just thought this was going to continue.

“We’re aware we’ve not won this one for a number of years, it’s in the back of everybody’s minds. We’ve put ourselves in a strong position to accomplish that and we’ve got to finish it off now.”

1 Comment

  1. But they just had 60 odd thousand for the football? Why the sudden drop? Are they thatscated of showing a positive packed audience for Rugby League?

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