Maguire relishing Wolves test

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MICHAEL Maguire admits Wigan could not have been handed a more difficult tie after last night being drawn away at Warrington in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Red-hot Wolves have racked up 312 points in their last four matches, conceding just 14 points in the process, to race to the top of the Super League ladder and firm as favourites in the cup.

Their showdown with Wigan in the last-eight makes for a mouth-watering prospect, as Warrington aim for a third straight final triumph, while Maguire plots a dream Wembley appearance before his exit.

Maguire said: “It’s a big challenge for us.

“Warrington are the form team at present, not only with the way they’re scoring points, but the way they’re defending too.

“Every team knows if you want to win the cup, you’re going to have to overcome quality opposition at some stage, and Warrington are definitely that.”

In the other quarter-final ties, Castleford host Huddersfield, Hull FC are at home to Leeds and St Helens take on Hull KR.

The games take place on the weekend of July 23-24, with Wigan’s tie an obvious choice for the BBC cameras.

“We’ve had some terrific contests against them in the time I’ve been here and I’m sure this will be another,” said Maguire, who guided his side to an epic 22-20 victory at the Halliwell Jones Stadium last season.

“It’s a bit strange having to wait so long for the next round, a lot can happen between now and then, blokes could come into the side and there could be some twists with results and things like that.

“But when the time comes we’ll have to make sure we’re well prepared.”

Maguire has confirmed Wigan will call on their young guns to represent the club in an expanded Super-9s competition next month.

Orrell’s Co-operative Community Stadium will host a round of games as part of an expanded festival-style tournament, which will run on consecutive Tuesdays from June 7, with a Grand Final at Headingley Carnegie on July 5.

The Orrell ground will stage fixtures between Wigan, Widnes, St Helens and Warrington on Tuesday, June 21.

Warriors won the Carnegie Floodlit 9s last year, with a team comprised of players from their Championship winning Under-20s outfit.

Wigan are among 11 Super League sides taking part along with Halifax, Widnes, Featherstone, the British Police and Cumbria.

Crusaders, Catalans Dragons and Harlequins will not be involved.

The running order for the event at Orrell is: 7pm Wigan v Widnes, 7.20pm St Helens v Warrington, 7.50pm Warrington v Widnes, 8.10pm Wigan v St Helens, 8.40pm St Helens v Widnes, 9pm Wigan v Warrington.

Each festival involves four teams, meaning each side will play three matches on a competition evening.

Each game lasts 15 minutes, and there are other rule variations, such as the option for teams to run a ‘powerplay’ after scoring a try, which gives them one chance to score an additional three-point try from the 10-metre line instead of kicking a goal.