THE prospect of Wembley has been put on the back-burner as Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-finalists Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers return their focus to Super League.
Thursday’s visit of Huddersfield Giants is the first of Rhinos’ eight matches before the semi-final.
Leeds boss Brian McDermott, whose side have drawn Warrington Wolves in the last four, said: “It’s two months away, but we are comfortable we know who we are playing now and we can actually start putting some plans in place.
“But we won’t focus too much on it. We have got a number of weeks back in Super League now and we will focus on that.
“But after beating Leigh in the quarter-finals and the way we had to overcome a very determined Leigh team, we certainly feel very privileged to be involved in the semi-final against quality opposition.”
McDermott added: “Hopefully by the time the Challenge Cup semi-final comes around we will have Paul Aiton, Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Carl Ablett all available. They are all key people and hopefully we will start looking a bit more like [full strength] again.”
Tigers coach Daryl Powell reckons his side are capable of going on and winning the Cup after their quarter-final triumph.
They face Widnes Vikings in the semis and Powell said: “If you look at what we did on Saturday against Wigan, it was a superb performance. We know it’s going to be tough to get through to the final. Semi-finals are always difficult, but we will just look to play as well as we possibly can.
“You need to make sure the prize at the end of it doesn’t take away from your performance, because you can get distracted a little bit.”
Challenge Cup semi-final Draw: Widnes Vikings v Castleford Tigers; Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves. Matches to be played over the weekend of August 9 and 10.