Warrington Wolves, St Helens & Hull KR provide 7 stars in Challenge Cup Team of the Week

Aaron Bower

Round Six of the Challenge Cup was certainly eventful, making our decisions for the latest Love Rugby League Team of the Week somewhat difficult.

There were a number of outstanding performers across the eight games, though – here are our picks: with no fewer than seven clubs included this week..

1. Niall Evalds (Hull KR)

With Peta Hiku – more on him later – continuing to impress at centre, Evalds looks set for an extended run at fullback for Rovers. That would be no bad thing either given how he performed in the win over former club Salford.

Evalds was in outstanding form to help the Robins through to another Challenge Cup quarter-final: and it looks highly likely he will be the man at the back this Friday for the Hull derby.

2. Adam Swift (Huddersfield)

Adam Swift try v Hull FC
Huddersfield Giants winger Adam Swift grabbed a hat-trick as they demolished his former club Hull FC in the Challenge Cup Sixth Round

It was a big weekend for players impressing against their former clubs – with Huddersfield winger Swift chief among that group.

The Giants man scored four tries as Ian Watson’s side comfortably booked their passage into the last eight with a commanding victory against Hull FC.

3. Peta Hiku (Hull KR)

Peta Hiku Hull KR Alamy
Peta Hiku of Hull KR

The critics of Hiku in the early rounds of the new Super League season may be starting to eat their words, you feel. Hiku has really impressed since the move to centre, and his fine try-scoring form continued at the weekend.

He was among the scorers as the Robins swatted aside Salford to ensure safe passage into the quarter-finals, and he looks to be really settling into life at Rovers now.

4. Ricky Leutele (Leigh)

Ricky Leutele, Josh Charnley

It was far from straightforward for reigning holders Leigh Leopards, who were made to work hard in their victory against Championship side Featherstone Rovers on Saturday afternoon.

Centre Leutele was among their star performers though, and he was hugely influential in creating the two tries which ultimately settled the game in Leigh’s favour.

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5. Matty Ashton (Warrington)

Matty Ashton Warrington Wolves Alamy
Matty Ashton applauds the Warrington fans

Both Warrington wingers had a strong case for inclusion this week, with Josh Thewlis scoring two tries as well as Ashton claiming a hat-trick.

But we’ve given the nod to Ashton, who continues to enhance his reputation as one of the best finishers in Super League – and one of the most important cogs in the machine at the Wolves under Sam Burgess.

6. Bevan French (Wigan)

Bevan French
Wigan Warriors star Bevan French celebrates his spectacular try (later ruled out) in the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers – Alamy

Super League champions Wigan certainly didn’t have it all their own way against Sheffield on Friday and at one stage, it looked possible one of the greatest upsets in rugby league history could be on the cards.

But ultimately, the class of the Warriors proved too much – and French was one of a handful who helped decide the contest in Wigan’s favour with an impressive display.

7. Jez Litten (Hull KR)

Jez Litten Hull KR Alamy

With no Mikey Lewis, Willie Peters opted for Litten at half-back against Salford: and it proved to be a masterstroke. Litten was absolutely outstanding against Salford, and while he will almost certainly revert back to hooker for the derby with Lewis available, it proved he is capable of filling in at half-back when required.

8. Albert Vete (Castleford)

Albert Vete Castleford Tigers Alamy
Albert Vete in action for Castleford Tigers

It was heavy going for Castleford at Batley on Saturday afternoon, but among their eye-catching individual performers was Vete, who has found opportunities hard to come by in recent months at the Tigers.

Vete certainly made an impact off the bench against the Championship side, helping Castleford re-establish control of proceedings on a number of occasions. Is he now firmly back in the picture under Craig Lingard?

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9. Daryl Clark (St Helens)

Daryl Clark St Helens Alamy
Daryl Clark in action for St Helens

He may have been sin-binned for his part in a melee midway through the second half, but Clark’s control and impact from hooker was crucial for St Helens in their win at Leeds on Friday night.

With the Saints adopting a different attacking shape given the absence of Lewis Dodd, Clark’s energy from dummy-half was vital as Paul Wellens’ side made it through to the quarter-finals.

10. Alex Walmsley (St Helens)

Alex Walmsley St Helens SWpix
Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix

And as well as Clark, the one standout performer in that win at Leeds was undoubtedly prop Walmsley, who produced his best individual display for some time.

Walmsley was at his brilliant best once again at Headingley, even crossing for a well-deserved try to help ensure the Saints booked their place in the last eight.

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11. Kelepi Tanginoa (Hull KR)

The former Wakefield man has made an impressive start to life at Hull KR, and he was once again in consistently impressive form on Friday as the Robins defeated Salford.

He crossed for a try but was just as effective all over the pitch, and he already looks to be a shrewd acquisition for Rovers in 2024.

12. Kai O’Donnell (Leigh)

Kai O'Donnell Leigh Leopards Alamy

Much like Tanginoa, O’Donnell is one of the most consistent performers in the competition and he was again influential on Saturday as Leigh kept their hopes of retaining the Challenge Cup alive.

13. Joe Westerman (Castleford)

Joe Westerman Castleford Tigers News Images
Photo: James Heaton/News Images

We finish with yet another of Super League’s most consistent players. Okay, Castleford certainly weren’t brilliant on Saturday afternoon at Batley but you sense without Westerman’s influence, the Tigers would be in even worse shape than they currently find themselves.

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