Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos prepare to go head-to-head for a place in the Women's Challenge Cup final
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The fixture between the two teams is the first part of a double-header, with Matty Peet’s side taking on Hull KR in the second game of the day.
“It’s really exciting for us to play before the men and be that curtain-raiser,” said the Warriors’ Mary Coleman.
“It’s great for the women’s sides and it’s great for the Challenge Cup.
“I love knockout rugby, there’s something a bit more exciting about it, you need to put your all in for the 80 minutes.
“We had a really strong quarter-final game, it was probably the biggest crowd we’ve had for a home game- that support does make a difference.
“The attendances are getting bigger every year, and occasions like this bring the men’s fans down to see what we’re doing.
“It’s great for the growth of the game.
“When we finish our matches we have a lot of little boys and girls asking for our signatures- it’s a really exciting time for women’s rugby.
“Wigan and the other teams are putting the infrastructure in.
“The academy sides have grown massively and there’s so much talent coming into the side.
“The pathway we’ve got is phenomenal, we’ve had five or six players come through this season- there’s some really exciting young talent.
“We’ve also got a really good connection with the men’s side. We have a one club mentality and we’d love to share in the success.
“We know facing Leeds will be a big challenge. We’ll need a strong full 80 minutes.
“We had moments a few weeks ago when we did challenge them- there were positives and negatives to take from it.”
Leeds’ Caitlin Beevers is expecting Sunday’s semi-final tie to be a closer affair than the meeting between the Rhinos and Wigan at Robin Park Arena earlier this month.
“I don’t think the scoreline reflected the game,” she stated.
“If you look at the first half they kept us to eight points- they’re strong, they’re physical.
“We’re not underestimating them, there’s been areas we’ve needed to improve from that game.
“With the young talent that has come through at Wigan they have really developed and are looking at being a really strong team, especially in the next few years.
“The game is about looking to the future and the development of the Super League.
“If you look at the scorelines from recent years, they are getting smaller and more competitive.
“The men’s games are always tough, and we want people to realise it’s going to be the same for the women.”
Wigan head into this weekend’s game on the back of a 20-12 victory over Warrington Wolves.
Anna Davies went over for a brace for Kris Ratcliffe’s side, while Rachel Thompson and Holly Speakman were on the scoresheet as well.
Meanwhile, Leeds drew 12-12 with York in their last outing.