TODAY’S TETLEY’S Challenge Cup showpiece will be only the fourth time Leeds and Castleford have met in a major final.
Leeds have a 100 per cent winning record after beating Castleford in the 1968-69 Championship decider and the Yorkshire Cup finals in the same year and 1988-89.
It will be Castleford’s first appearance at the new Wembley, having last reached the final in 1992, when they lost 28-12 to Wigan – their only defeat at the national stadium.
They last won the trophy in 1986, when they edged out Hull KR 15-14.
Leeds are appearing in their 24th Challenge Cup final (11 wins). Only Wigan (30) have more final appearances than Rhinos, while Warriors (19) and St Helens (12) are the only clubs with more wins.
A defeat would extend Leeds’ unwanted record of most successive losses in a Challenge Cup final to seven – and their consecutive Wembley reverses would extend to four.
It would also set a new record of 13 Challenge Cup final defeats. Leeds currently share their total of 12 with Hull FC.
Since they lifted the trophy in the last decider at the old Wembley in 1999 (52-16 against London Broncos) Rhinos have lost finals in 2000 (24-18 against Bradford at Murrayfield), 2003 (22-20 against Bradford at Cardiff), 2005 (25-24 against Hull FC at Cardiff), 2010 (30-6 against Warrington at Wembley), 2011 (28-18 against Wigan at Wembley) and 2012 (35-18 against Warrington at Wembley).
Castleford’s Garreth Carvell is aiming to become only the third player to win the Challenge Cup for three different clubs.
He already has four winner’s medals, for Hull in 2005 (against Leeds at Cardiff) and Warrington in 2009 (against Huddersfield at Wembley), 2010 and 2012 (both against Leeds at Wembley). He was also on the losing side for Hull FC in their 2008 Wembley defeat to St Helens.
Carvell would also become the first player to win the trophy for three different teams against the same club.
The other two players to have won the trophy for three different clubs are Alex Murphy and Brian Lockwood.
Jamie Peacock – who will make his 250th Rhinos appearance today at Wembley – is the only Leeds player with Challenge Cup final-winning experience, having played for Bradford Bulls in their 2000 and 2003 wins over his current club.
Rhinos have a combined total of 52 Challenge Cup final appearances in their senior squad, compared to Tigers’ seven.