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Pat Richards eyes Challenge Cup glory

Pat Richards stands on the verge of a final Wembley appearance, but the Wigan Warriors star has no intention of underestimating London Broncos in this weekend's Challenge Cup semi-finals.
Pat Richards eyes Challenge Cup glory
by AAP

By John McDougall

LONDON, July 26 AFP - Pat Richards stands on the verge of a final Wembley appearance, but the Wigan Warriors star has no intention of underestimating London Broncos in this weekend's Challenge Cup semi-finals.

For Richards, who will return to the NRL with West Tigers next season after eight years with Wigan, this is his last chance to repeat the club's Challenge Cup triumph back in 2011.

The gap between the Broncos and the Warriors could hardly be bigger in Super League, with the London side rooted to the bottom while Richards and company were only removed from top spot on Monday after defeat against St Helens.

But Richards knows the knockout nature of the Challenge Cup means form goes out the window for Saturday's clash in Leigh.

"I've been at Wigan eight years and I've only been to Wembley once so they don't come around too often and you have to enjoy them," Richards said.

"It's my last chance to play at Wembley and in any year, you don't know what's going to happen

"We're only 80 minutes away but we can't be thinking about Wembley yet as we need to beat London.

"Every year - it doesn't matter if I'm going home this year or not - it's about winning and we're in a good position to do that.

"Over the years, it's always been a David v Goliath sort of thing and that's what excites you about the Challenge Cup. Like the FA Cup and football, it throws up some great occasions."

If the Broncos are to score a major upset this weekend then a lot of responsibility falls on the shoulders of former St George Illawarra five-eighth Jamie Soward.

The 28-year-old was drafted in only last month with the Challenge Cup run almost exclusively in mind and the short-term signing is relishing the chance to sample the cup atmosphere as an underdog.

"This was the main reason for me coming to London this season on a short-term deal," he said.

"I know the responsibility on my shoulders but I have to focus on my own job and see how we go from there."

In Sunday's second semi-final, holders Warrington Wolves face Hull FC at the John Smith's Stadium in Huddersfield.

And Wolves skipper Brett Hodgson, who spent two seasons with the Giants in Super League, cannot wait to return to his former home.

"It's a huge game for both clubs and we'll be treating it like a final," he said.

"It's also a bit like a home game for me because I still live over that way and I have some great memories from playing in Huddersfield.

"Hopefully I'll add another one this weekend."

There is one re-arranged game scheduled this weekend in Super League as well with reigning Grand Final winners Leeds travelling to Wakefield hoping to beat their Yorkshire rivals for the second time in a week.




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