80 minutes from Wembley - Featherstone Rovers can handle pressure of 1895 Cup semi-final against Widnes Vikings says coach James Webster

Players at Betfred Championship clubs don’t find themselves 80 minutes away from Wembley very often, but coach James Webster is confident Featherstone Rovers can handle the pressure a major semi-final brings.

Saturday, 5th June 2021, 11:45 am

A win at home to Widnes Vikings in the 1895 Cup on Sunday (4pm) would take Rovers to Wembley for the first time since their epic Challenge Cup final conquering of Hull in 1983.

“It’s really exciting,” Webster, who was assistant-coach at Leeds Rhinos when they won the Challenge Cup last year, said.

“We trained well on Thursday, we have still got some players to decide on injury-wise, but it is a massive opportunity and one that’s not lost on anyone associated with the club.

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Featherstone coach James Webster. Picture by Dec Hayes/Featherstone Rovers.

“I think we are lucky we have got a group that not too much fazes them.

“We are not what you’d consider a really young team, these guys have played for a period of time now and I think we are going to try and relax as much as we can and play our normal game.”

Rovers’ only defeat this year was to Hull in the Challenge Cup.

They have won all seven of their league games and Webster reckons last weekend’s hard-fought 16-8 victory at Halifax Panthers was good preparation for tomorrow.

“Halifax were really good,” Webster said.

“We had probably seven people unavailable so I thought it was a really good performance with the amount of people we had missing.

“I don’t think too many other teams, with so many players missing, could go away against a strong team, who were at full-strength and win.

“I think our defence has been really good for the last six weeks.

The only time they scored was when we had a sin-binning, which I thought was a tough call.

“We bombed some chances and we have to be better with the ball, especially around our handling and errors, but we are working hard for each other, which is pleasing and we’ll have to do that again.

“Widnes have been really good the last couple of weeks and they’re a totally different side to what they were a month ago.”

The winners will face the winners of Saturday’s other semi-final, between York City Knights and Swinton Lions, at Wembley on July 17.

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