Leeds Rhinos: Normanton Knights product Westwood as eager as ever to tackle Rhinos in Challenge Cup

Ben Westwood
Ben Westwood
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LEEDS RHINOS are desperate to end a 15-year wait for Challenge Cup final glory, but semi-final opponents Warrington Wolves will be just as motivated, their England forward Ben Westwood says.

Westwood, 33, has already starred for Warrington in three winning Challenge Cup finals, two of them against Leeds, but insisted his hunger to play at Wembley is as strong as ever.

“You can never have too many Challenge Cup winners’ medals,” said the Normanton Knights product, who began his professional career at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

“It has been great over the last few years to do well in the competition, but that’s all in the past.

“We are up against a real tough team on Saturday and it will be a real tough challenge.”

Rhinos were the dominant team over the first half of the year, but their form has fallen away since the mid-way point and they were crushed 24-6 – their heaviest defeat of the season – the last time they faced Warrington, two months ago.

Westwood stressed: “We’re not reading too much into that.

“They are a dangerous team and have got some dangerous players. They sometimes lose to teams you don’t expect, but they still get to Grand Finals and Challenge Cup finals.

“They know how to play these big games, but we have got our own experienced players to help our younger ones. When we perform well and do little things right, we are tough team to beat as well.

“They peak at right times, but we haven’t been too bad ourselves over the last few years and I think we are evenly matched. They have got a big pack and some experience in there as well. It’s all about doing little things right. Forwards need to step up and be dominant. I am sure we will be getting stuck into each other.”

Tomorrow is the biggest game of both teams’ season so far, but Westwood revealed he will be preparing the same way he always does.

“You shouldn’t really change because no game is different to any other,” he said. “Sometimes a few nerves kick in, but you try to stick to your routine.

“I have been playing so long sometimes I turn up and I am very nervous and other times I am not nervous at all.

“This weekend I will probably be nervous, but I will probably have a fry up like I usually do and stick to my normal routine I have had throughout my career. Watching Corrie and Emmerdale. I stick to certain things. I will always have ‘spag bol’ the night before, I like to have bacon, sausage and egg on the morning of the game.

“People say fry-ups are really bad for you and maybe they are if you are having black pudding and fried bread. A fried egg won’t hurt you and neither will bacon, sausage and beans. I do actually have fried bread and would have black pudding too if I could get some!

“I have my eggs delivered every weekend from Yorkshire; two dozen eggs.”

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