Wigan Warriors Women preparing for biggest test yet with Challenge Cup clash against Leeds Rhinos

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Only Leeds Rhinos Women stand in the way of a historic first-ever Challenge Cup final appearance for Wigan Warriors Women this weekend.

The two sides will go head-to-head at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday, 12:30pm kick-off, with Lois Forsell’s side beaten finalists during last year’s fixture against St Helens.

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Legend Denis Betts has enjoyed an unbeaten campaign to date in his first season in charge as head coach, having advanced to the semi-finals of the competition following a 44-4 victory over Cardiff Demons.

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Wigan Warriors Women take on Leeds Rhinos for a spot in the Women's Challenge Cup final at Wembley StadiumWigan Warriors Women take on Leeds Rhinos for a spot in the Women's Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium
Wigan Warriors Women take on Leeds Rhinos for a spot in the Women's Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium

The Warriors also recently ran riot over Huddersfield Giants in the Women’s Super League with a 102-0 triumph over at the John Smith’s Stadium.

“We have had a great start to the season, but it’s a big game at the weekend,” vice-captain Rachel Thompson said.

“It’s been nice to get the wins under our belts, but we haven’t come up against the top teams yet. We know we’ve been building all season, it started in pre-season so now it’s a really good time to see where we’re at.

“We’ve played Leeds plenty of times before in previous years and we know what they’ve got to offer and how good they are.

“We’re under no illusion how hard this game is going to be.

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“But we’re confident that we can get the job done if we turn up and perform to our best.”

The women’s side are yet to reach a Challenge Cup final, with their only taste of glory coming during the inaugural Women’s Super League season with that year’s title under then-coach Amanda Wilkinson.

Last year saw the competition’s final played at Wembley for the first time in its history, and will return again later in June as part of a triple-header day alongside the Men’s Challenge Cup and the 1895 Cup.

Thompson, who was the first player to sign for the women’s team ahead of the 2018 season, is dreaming of walking out at Wembley but knows a tough challenge awaits in Leeds, who have won the title twice previously in 2018 and 2019.

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“We haven’t won any silverware since 2018, so we’re motivated every day,” Thompson continued.

“We want to get up there. The Challenge Cup is obviously a massive competition that everyone wants to be involved in and everyone wants to win. With it being at Wembley, there’s even more at stake.

“For me, playing at The Brick Community Stadium was one of my highlights and not something I thought I would do in my career.

“Wembley is the next step and it would be massive, I couldn’t even put into words what it would feel like to walk out there. But we don’t want to get too caught up in the emotions of it, we’ve still got a job to do and if we don’t do that job, we’re not going to get there.

“As exciting as it is to think about, you can’t get too ahead of yourselves. You’ve got to concentrate on the next game at hand which is on Sunday.”

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