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Rugby League: Which Challenge Cup quarter-final was the best? [Jun. 3rd, 2010|11:45 am]
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[davehadfield]
Here's a question to ponder. Which of the two televised Challenge Cup quarter-finals last weekend did you enjoy more?

The answer is easy enough on the face of it. Bradford against Warrington was a flee-flowing to-and-fro affair, in doubt until the end.

Leeds versus Wigan was just as close, but had nothing resembling a try until Lee Smith's last-minute winner.

Until that marvellous finish, I'd found it a frustrating match. Strong defence and difficult handling conditions had a lot to do with it, but the handling was dreadful and the game was dominated by two things - the referee's whistle and place-kicking.

More than one person at the match made the obvious remark: "If this was what I wanted to see, I'd watch rugby union."

I'd broadly agree with that, although you can forgive a match a lot for that sort of finish.

But a lot of people who watched it on TV thought it was absolutely great from start to finish - which, in my book, it wasn't. I've seen low-scoring or even non-scoring games which justified that description, but this wasn't one of them.

Give me the game at Odsal the following day, although one or two of the tries were admittedly a bit on the soft side.

Now we just have a couple of months to wait for the semis!

****************************************************************

Plenty to think about in Steve McNamara's first England squad...

Strictly speaking, he doesn't need Melbourne's Gareth Widdop yet, but it's a shrewd move to get him committed to the England cause.

The man he has replaced, Shaun Briscoe, can consider himself unlucky, as can Ryan Atkins and, most of all, Eorl Crabtree.

I don't know what the Huddersfield Giant did wrong in his Tests last autumn, or indeed for his club this season, but I'd want him up the sleeve for his impact off the bench.
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