Posted: Saturday 17th July 2021

Challenge Cup Final: Game Day

Castleford Tigers take on St Helens this afternoon in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final 2021!


It's rugby league's showpiece event. The biggest knockout competition in the sport with a 125-year history, and both clubs have waited a long time to take home the trophy. For Castleford, the last time was back in 1986 when John Joyner led the Fords to a victory, and St Helens last lifted the Cup in 2008.

The Tigers are seeking their fifth Challenge Cup trophy, knowing a win would seal the names of the 2021 squad in the club's history books forever - alongside the likes of Arthur Atkinson, Keith Hepworth, Alan Hardisty, Malcolm Reilly, and John Joyner, our Foundation Castleford Immortals. 


With 45,000 expected at Wembley, and this event being part of the Government's Event Research Programme, there are a few more requirements than your traditional game day experience. Read all about it on our website by clicking HERE.


The game will be live on BBC One with coverage beginning from 2pm and kick-off scheduled for 3pm.


To sum up Castleford's 2021 Cup campaign up so far, one word would probably best suit: dramatic.

It all began back in April against Hull Kingston Rovers in Round Three, with Cas trailing 22-6 at the break and then 32-18 with just ten minutes left, Cas looked to be bound for an early exit, then up stepped the Man of Steel - Paul McShane. Following a try from Derrell Olpherts, our #9 scored one of his own and then set up Jordan Turner after the hooter to level the scores. FOUR periods of extra time were needed to separate the teams before Gareth O'Brien slotted the winning drop goal.

Into the quarter-finals, and another match that went beyond 80 minutes this time against Salford Red Devils. A late Lee Mossop equalizing try could have knocked the spirits of the Tigers, but it didn't as was proven when Kevin Brown went for the winning drop goal which McShane charged down and regained the ball. Calmly, O'Brien requested the ball and won the game at the first time of asking to get us into the final four.

Facing Warrington in the semis following a heavy defeat to Leeds the week prior, many had written Cas off but it was the performance of the season so far against the Wolves. A near-perfect first half 19-0 set the tone for the Tigers who would command most of the game and win 35-20 to book their place at Wembley for the first time since 2014.

The toughest task of the season now awaits at the national stadium against the team to beat the past two seasons, St Helens, the back-to-back Super League champions. Encounters in recent years between the two clubs have been enthralling, and on the biggest stage, it should another thrilling fixture.


Castleford Tigers 21-man squad: 1. Niall Evalds, 2. Derrell Olpherts, 3. Peter Mata’utia, 4. Michael Shenton, 6. Jake Trueman, 7. Danny Richardson, 8. Liam Watts, 9. Paul McShane, 10. Grant Millington, 11. Oliver Holmes, 12. Cheyse Blair, 13. Adam Milner, 14. Nathan Massey, 15. George Griffin, 17. Alex Foster, 20. James Clare, 21. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 22. Daniel Smith, 24. Suaia Matagi, 25. Jordan Turner, 31. Gareth O’Brien

St Helens 21-man squad: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Kevin Naiqama, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Jonny Lomax, 7. Theo Fages, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Joel Thompson, 13. Morgan Knowles, 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16. Kyle Amor, 17. Agnatius Paasi, 18. Jack Welsby, 19. Aaron Smith, 20. Joe Batchelor, 21. Lewis Dodd, 22. Josh Simm, 25. Dan Norman


For the Tigers' Head Coach, it will be a very special day and he knows the importance of the occasion for the club, the town, and the community.

“It’s an iconic competition, it’s iconic in Castleford’s history. We look back at ’35, ’69, ’70, and ’86 and we want to leave our own legacy. For me it would be super special, I can’t put into words quite how much that would mean."

Watch Daryl Powell's preview in full on Tigers TV


Fullback - Niall Evalds vs Lachlan Coote
Both are highly valued members of their teams and can prove vital in attack, neither look uncomfortable fielding the high ball.

Prop - Liam Watts vs Alex Walmsley
The battle of the big boys, two of Super League’s very best forwards and when you see these two run at each other it should be box office.

Hooker - Paul McShane vs James Roby
Two Men of Steel, two outstanding hookers, and two integral men steering their sides around the pitch, both will give everything to be the victor at the end of the game.

Halfback - Gareth O’Brien vs Jonny Lomax
O’Brien & Lomax bring calmness to their side’s attack but can strike quickly with their commanding setup plays or by taking on a run to the line themselves.

Wing - Jordan Turner vs Regan Grace
Arguably the signing of the season against one of the best wingers in Super League, Turner has proven he can finish with his strength, Grace can strike from deep in the field through blistering pace.


"We are doing this for you as a club, as a town and I hope you can get behind us..."

The rallying call issued by Castleford's #11 Oliver Holmes, who knows how special Cup Final day is and is aiming to finish his time with the Tigers on a high note.

Watch Holmes, Shenton & Powell preview the game on Tigers TV.


Cheer the Tigers on throughout the day on social media using #ReadyToRoar or #COYF