Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott says he has “too much respect” for opponents Leigh Centurions and the Challenge Cup itself to take a semi-final place for granted.
Rhinos got the sort of draw they would have wanted when they were paired with Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh for the quarter-finals, to be played on the weekend of June 7 and 8.
That will end a run of six successive Challenge Cup meetings with Super League opposition and be only the second time in 18 ties they have faced a lower division team. Ironically, the last time Leeds were draw against a side from outside Super League was at the same stage in 2012 – when they won 60-12 at Leigh.
McDermott said: “We played at their place last time and we remember it was a contest for a fair while. We have too much respect for Leigh – and more importantly, for the Challenge Cup – to take the quarter-final lightly.”
Rhinos have five tough Super League games before they face Leigh, who are unbeaten this season, beginning at home to Wigan Warriors on Friday.
McDermott – whose side beat St Helens in last weekend’s fifth round – added: “It is time to put the Challenge Cup to bed for a while and now get ready for Wigan.”
Also preparing for Wigan are Castleford, who will travel there in the Cup quarter-finals.
Coach Daryl Powell insisted Tigers aren’t daunted, after beating Championship teams Batley Bulldogs and Sheffield Eagles in the earlier rounds.
“It is the luck of the draw,” Powell said. “We have had a pretty decent run up to now, so we can’t really complain. Obviously it is a tough draw, they are the holders, they won everything last year and being away makes it a bit more difficult.
“But we have beaten them the last two times we’ve played them. We won there last year and we’ve beaten them this season, so we will go there with some confidence. We will go and play as well as we can and if we play well we have got a pretty good opportunity.”
Powell added: “They are a good side and they are playing a fair bit better than they were at the start of the season, but I think they will be wary of us. It doesn’t hold any fears. It is a tough game, but if you are going to win something you have got to play in tough games.
“I think it will be on TV, so it is an opportunity for us to showcase ourselves to the nation and we are looking forward to it.”
Two ties will be broadcast by the BBC and Sky Sports have an option for the others.
Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final draw: Wigan v Castleford, Leeds v Leigh, Bradford v Warrington, Widnes v Keighley. Ties to be played on the weekend of June 7-8.