St Helens v Wakefield Trinity: Wakefield poised for their ‘biggest game for years’ – Ryan Hampshire

Tomorrow’s Coral Challenge Cup quarter-final at St Helens could be a defining point in Wakefield Trinity’s season, full-back/scrum-half Ryan Hampshire says.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 2nd June 2019, 10:22 am
Ryan Hampshire in action against St Helens.
Ryan Hampshire in action against St Helens.
Wakefield's Kyle Wood celebrates his Magic Weekend try with Ryan Hampshire.

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Trinity have not reached a Challenge Cup final for 40 years and Saints will enter the BBC-televised tie as hot favourites.

Successive defeats have dented Wakefield’s top-five chances, but one Betfred Super League team will face Championship opposition in the semi-finals and that is a huge incentive for Trinity.

Hampshire claimed: “I think we can change our season just by one win this week.

“Improve this week and we have got a good chance to get to Wembley.

“It is going to be the highlight of our season, this game.

“It is not a do or die, but it’s the biggest one for this club for a few years.”

Under coach Chris Chester Trinity have made a habit of upsetting more fancied teams and will be in a similar situation tomorrow against the Cup favourites and league leaders.

“We always play well against St Helens,” Hampshire pointed out.

“They are always close games so we will see what happens.

“When the pressure’s off us we play better, but we have to start better than we have been doing.

“If we don’t, I think St Helens will put too many points on us like Warrington did earlier in the season.

“We know we can always come back, but it’s not about that.

“I don’t think we want to get into that battle of going try for try because their defence is probably a bit better than ours at the minute, but as long as we start better we will give ourselves a chance.”

Hampshire has alternated between full-back and half-back this season, but is keen for the former role tomorrow.

“I am enjoying full-back better,” he confirmed.

“I get to run with the ball, which is me.” He is also urging his team-mates to back him if he gets an opportunity to take a penalty when the scores are close.

Trinity opted not to go for goal from half-way when the scores were locked at 18-18 last week, but Hampshire confirmed he had been keen to have a shot.

“I think it’s something we’ll talk about,” he said.

“I am confident anywhere around the 50, maybe past the 50, that I’ll get it. I think if we get those chances in the future we need to take them.”

Danny Brough could return to Wakefield’s line-up after seven weeks out with a hand injury. Max Jowitt is out for six weeks with a fractured hand, on-loan Salford Red Devils centre Junior Sa’u is cup-tied and there are doubts over winger Caton-Brown’s fitness. Centre Jack Croft and winger Lee Kershaw, 20, are included in the squad.

Man of Steel contender David Fifita is also out after requiring crutches to leave the field at Anfield at the weekend. He could return from a foot problem inside a fortnight.

Saints have England duo Luke Thompson and Mark Percival as well as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook back from injuries.

Theo Fages drops out due to a head injury but Danny Richardson comes in.

St Helens from: Lomax, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Richardson, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Peyroux, Lees, Ashworth, Smith, Coote, Costello.

Wakefield from: Ashurst, Batchelor, Brough, Caton-Brown, Croft, Crowther, England, Hampshire, Hirst, Jones-Bishop, Kershaw, King, Kirmond, Kopczak, Lyne, Miller, Randell, Tanginoa, Wood.

Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3.15pm.