Kevin Sinfield still aiming to taste Challenge Cup success



Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield will aim to win his first Challenge Cup final on Saturday on his seventh attempt.

The 31-year old was unlucky not to be selected in Leeds’ 1999 Challenge Cup final winning side. He was again not selected to play in Leeds’ 2000 loss against Bradford at Murrayfield, but has played in the last four cup finals Leeds have competed in.

He famously declined to take a penalty directly in front of Bradford’s posts to give Leeds at least a draw in 2003, before going onto lose 22-20 in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. 

In 2005 Danny Brough’s drop goal and Paul Cooke’s last minute try proved to be the difference as Hull FC claimed the spoils in a thrilling contest in Cardiff. However Sinfield was awarded the Lance Todd trophy, and is the last person to do so from a losing side.

Sinfield has had two more chances to win the Challenge Cup, but Leeds have been outplayed in defeats to Warrington and Wigan in 2010 and 2011 respectively. 

But the Oldham-born star is far from nervous ahead of leading Leeds out onto Wembley for their third consecutive cup final appearance.

He said: “I think I go into these games pretty relaxed, and the rest of the guys do too. I’m fortunate that in our side we have some great experienced players who have played in big games and know what it’s all about.

“But ultimately no matter what your preparation is like you just have to play well on game day. We have some young lads around our team who haven’t played many games and I’m sure they will bring all their enthusiasm and that sort of ‘no fear attitude’ 18-year olds have, and hopefully some of that will rub off on us and we can go out there and give it our best shot.”

The Leeds captain knows what the experience of Wembley and Challenge Cup finals are all about, and has urged his side’s younger players to learn from the experience whether Leeds win or lose on the day.

Sinfield said: “Wembley is a place for winners and on cup final day you don’t want to be a loser. If those lads can experience winning at Wembley as 18,19 and 20 year olds then there is no better learning curve.

“They just need to go and enjoy it. It’s a job, we all play the game and love it. We’ve done it since we were kids and to play in a Challenge Cup final at Wembley in an occasion like that in front of 90,000 people is huge. You have to enjoy it.”

Sinfield is far from scared about losing another cup final, and says he and his side will go to Wembley with the right attitude hoping to cause all manner of problems for a Warrington side that defeated Leeds to win the cup in 2010.

He said: “I want to win in it and play well for the right reasons and that’s the joy of lifting the cup. If the result goes against us then I will deal with that, but at this moment in time its about going there and playing the best I can and helping the team play the best they can.

“I think we’ll cause Warrington some problems, but if that means we’re not good enough on the day then so be it.”

Both Leeds and Warrington were beaten last weekend in Super League. Warrington rested seven players ahead of their trip to London and were thrashed 62-18, while Leeds travelled to France to take on Catalan losing 38-34.



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