Leeds Rhinos: Stats expose gulf in experience between Challenge Cup finalists

Hull KR coach Chris Chester.
Hull KR coach Chris Chester.
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THERE IS a vast difference in Challenge Cup final experience between this weekend’s two Wembley finalists.

Leeds Rhinos will be appearing in their fifth final in six season on Saturday, while Hull KR are heading to Wembley for the first time since 1986.

Holders Leeds have won the Cup 12 times – equal with St Helens and behind only Wigan Warriors’ 19 – but the Robins’ lone success came in 1980, when they beat neighbours Hull 10-5.

Saturday will be Rovers’ seventh Challenge Cup final, with six of those having ended in defeat.

Only Wigan – with 30 – have featured in more Cup finals than Leeds.

And if Leeds Rhinos lose, it will set a new record as their 13th defeat.

They currently share the unwanted mark of 12 Cup final losses with Hull.

In terms of player experience, Rhinos’ active squad boasts a combined total of 49 appearances in the showpiece event, compared with just five in the Hull KR ranks.

Captain Tyrone McCarthy is Hull KR’s only Cup final winner, having played for Warrington Wolves when they beat Huddersfield Giants in 2009 and Leeds in 2012.

Current team-mate Shaun Lunt was on the losing side in both finals.

Lunt is set to make his second Cup final appearance as an on-loan player.

He is currently at Hull Kingston Rovers on loan from Huddersfield and was in a similar situation with Leeds three years ago.

Rovers’ other player with Cup final experience is Graeme Horne.

He played for Hull when they lost to St Helens in 2008.

But coach Chris Chester – who was appointed in July last year – does have a Cup winner’s medal, having been a substitute for Hull when they shocked Rhinos in Cardiff in 2005.