Squad watch: Challenge Cup semi-final team news, including broadcast details and kick-off times

Ben Olawumi
Challenge Cup squad watch

Welcome to Squad Watch here on Love Rugby League, bringing you the latest Challenge Cup squad news ahead of the semi-finals across both the men’s & women’s competitions.

Across two double-headers in this weekend’s Challenge Cup action, with seven different clubs involved.

Here’s the latest team news in Squad Watch…

Saturday, May 18 – Eco-Power Stadium, Doncaster

Women: St Helens v York Valkyrie (11:15am, BBC iPlayer & BBC Red Button)

St Helens coach Matty Smith and Jodie Cunningham lifting the Women's Challenge Cup Alamy
St Helens women’s coach Matty Smith (left) and captain Jodie Cunningham lifting the Challenge Cup in 2023

St Helens – looking to book a second consecutive trip to Wembley – beat the same opponents at this stage of the competition last year en-route to lifting the Challenge Cup for a third year on the spin.

Saints head coach Matty Smith makes one change from their big win at Featherstone Rovers in the Women’s Super League last weekend as Rachael Woosey replaces Rebecca Rotheram in the 21.

York meanwhile have already beaten Saints this year in the league, with former Saint Carrie Roberts scoring the winning try in a 20-16 win.

Valkyrie boss Lindsay Anfield makes two changes to her squad from their defeat in the league to Leeds last time out as Kelsey Gentles is back from suspension alongside the returning Ashleigh Hyde. The pair replace Liv Gale and Izzy Brennan.

St Helens: Salihi, McColm, E. Stott, Burke, Harris, Gaskin, Whitfield, Jones, Crowl, Travis, Rudge, Cunningham, Williams, D. Stott, Birchall, Mottershead, Hook, Taylor, Williams, Sutherland, Woosey.

York: Andrade, Bell, Eastwood, Gentles, Hendry, Hetherington, Hyde, Izumi, Kershaw, Marshall, Owen, Partington, Renouf, Rihari, Roberts, Sanderson, Sharp, Stanley, Stimpson, Wilton, Wood.

READ NEXT: St Helens’ Tara Jones details ambition for history-making achievement to pave the way

Men: Hull KR v Wigan Warriors (Saturday, 1:45pm, BBC One & BBC iPlayer)

Ryan Hampshire Kruise Leeming Wigan Warriors Alamy
Ryan Hampshire (left) comes into the Wigan Warriors 21-man squad for their Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull KR this weekend

In another re-run from last year’s semi-finals, Hull KR boss Willie Peters is forced to make two changes to his squad from their defeat at Warrington last time out due to a pair of players being cup-tied.

Recent recruits Jack Brown and Jack Broadbent are ineligible, so they’re replaced in the Robins’ 21 by youngsters Reiss Butterworth and Louix Gorman. Notably, captain Elliot Minchella is named having missed out on matchday last week through injury.

There’s just one change to the 21 for opponents Wigan, and it’s also enforced, with the suspended Liam Byrne replaced by Ryan Hampshire.

With Wigan opting not to appeal against the two-game ban handed to Byrne following last weekend’s win at Huddersfield Giants, the prop will miss this semi-final tie as well as next week’s trip to Salford Red Devils in Round 12 of Super League.

Hull KR: Hiku, Evalds, Opacic, Hall, Lewis, Sue, Litten, King, Hadley, Batchelor, Minchella, Parcell, Luckley, Whitbread, Storton, Tanginoa, Butterworth, May, Gorman, Tennison, Burgess.

Wigan: Field, Miski, Keighran, Wardle, Marshall, French, Smith, Havard, O’Neill, Farrell, Ellis, Cooper, Mago, Thompson, Leeming, Dupree, Hill, Nsemba, Walters, Hampshire, Eckersley.

RELATED: Challenge Cup semi-finals ticket update as Hull KR’s clash with Wigan Warriors heads towards milestone

Sunday, May 19 – Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens

Women: Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos (12:30pm, BBC iPlayer & BBC Red Button)

Rachel Thompson Wigan Warriors Alamy
Rachel Thompson in action for Wigan Warriors

Wigan head coach Denis Betts has named his 21-woman squad for the semi-final, with Sinead Doria replacing Gracie Bradshaw.

As for Leeds, Beth Lockwood has been included in Lois Forsell’s squad for the first time this season after missing the start through injury. Meanwhile, England internationals Caitlin Beevers and Shona Hoyle – both try scorers in last week’s win over York – are set to feature.

Wigan: Banks, Davies, Derbyshire, Doria, Knowles, Fisher, Singleton, Speakman, Coleman, Molyneux, Thompson, Gregory-Haselden, Hilton, Bardsley, Jones, Hayes, Rowe, Welsford, Casey, Phonsaya, Foubister.

Leeds: Enright, Robinson, Beevers, Hardcastle, Butcher, Casey, Hornby, Bennett, Northrop, Hoyle, Sykes, Dainton, Moxon, Lockwood, Murray, Whitehead, Field, Cousins, Greening, Watson, Donnelly.

READ NEXT: 13 of the strangest rugby league injuries including one picked up in a Women’s Challenge Cup final

Men: Warrington Wolves v Huddersfield Giants (3:15pm, BBC Two & BBC iPlayer)

Adam Swift Huddersfield Giants Alamy
Adam Swift scoring a try for Huddersfield Giants in 2024

Warrington could welcome back centre Connor Wrench, who has missed the last month of action through injury.

Huddersfield prop Chris Hill won’t face his former club Warrington this weekend, with the veteran front-rower narrowly missing out as he recovers from an Achilles injury. However, the Giants are set to be boosted by the returns of back-rower Jack Murchie and in-form winger Adam Swift.

Warrington: Ashton, Crowther, Currie, Drinkwater, Dufty, Fitzgibbon, Harrison, King, Lindop, Musgrove, Nicholson, Philbin, Powell, Ratchford, Tai, Thewlis, Vaughan, Walker, Williams, Wood, Wrench.

Huddersfield: Connor, Swift, Marsters, Naiqama, Jake Bibby, Lolohea, Clune, Milner, Greenwood, Murchie, Hewitt, Yates, Golding, English, Rushton, Wilson, Ikahihifo, Wallis, Cudjoe, Russell, Salabio.

RELATED: NextGen – Meet the ‘pretty special athlete’ waiting in the wings at Warrington Wolves