Our event of the day is the Challenge Cup Final between Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves at Wembley Stadium in London. Arguably the most prestigious competition in rugby league, it should be a fantastic occasion. Catalans’ spectacularly overcame Super League table-toppers St Helens to reach the final, whilst Warrington beat Leeds Rhinos. Warrington go into the match as favourites, having finished four places and eight points above Catalans at the 23 Rounds stage of Super League this season. The Cheshire side are aiming to lift the trophy for a ninth time. Only three other sides in Challenge Cup final history have won rugby league’s greatest prize more. Today marks their fifth final appearance in the last ten years.
Catalans Dragons on the other hand, are going for their maiden title. This is only their second ever final appearance, having finished as runners-up in 2007. However, their lack of Challenge Cup history is due to the French side only entering the Super League in 2006. Victory for the Dragons would be quite a story. Not only would a French side winning an English tournament be headline news, Catalans’ transformation over the last twelve months has been staggering. Having narrowly survived relegation this time last year, they are now on the brink of the greatest achievement in the club’s history. Warrington are polar opposites to their opponents. Today is their seventeenth final appearance. Warrington’s strengths certainly lie with their wingers. Josh Charnley has twenty-two tries in twenty appearances for Warrington this season, whilst on the opposite flank, Tom Lineham has notched up nineteen tries in twenty-eight matches. Lineham will be hoping to make up for lost time, having been denied a Challenge Cup Final starting place in 2013 (when at Hull KR) and in 2016 for Warrington. History will be made today, the only question is, who will make it? Expect a spectacular showdown!
Honourable mentions around the globe go to New Zealand versus Australia in the Rugby Championship at Eden Park in Auckland. Australia will be desperate to break their duck in New Zealand, having not won there for seventeen years. Argentina play South Africa in Mendoza in the second Rugby Championship fixture of the day. Meanwhile in rugby league, Melbourne Storm will be aiming to extend their lead at the top of the NRL ladder, as they travel to Robina to face twelfth place Gold Coast Titans. In Germany, a multitude of Bundesliga fixtures take place, including a tasty encounter at the Volkswagen Arena, where Wolfsburg host Schalke. In Serie A, Juventus host Lazio, whilst in La Liga, Barcelona are away to Real Valladolid. Dutch giants Ajax welcome Emmen in Eredivisie action, and Scottish giants Celtic host Hamilton in the SPL. Arsenal and West Ham, both winless in the Premier League this season, meet at the Emirates. Stoke City are also looking for their first win of the season, and they take on Bristol City in the Championship. PSG will look to maintain their 100% start to the Ligue 1 season, as they host Angers at Parc de Princes. In the MLS, Chicago Fire meet Columbus Crew at Toyota Park. Elsewhere in the States, the Tampa Bay Rays play the Boston Red Sox in MLB action. At the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Centre, the WTA Connecticut Open continues, whilst on the men’s circuit, the Winston-Salem Open takes place. In Paramus, day three of the Northern Trust gets underway on the PGA Tour. On the European Tour, the DD Real Czech Masters enters its third day. In women’s golf, the third day of action on the CP Women’s Open begins in Regina on the LPGA Tour. Elsewhere in Canada, the first day of the World Triathlon Series event kicks off in Montreal. Qualifying for the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix starts in Stavelot, whilst in MotoGP, Silverstone hosts qualifying for the British Grand Prix. Additional sporting action in the UK comes from York, where flat racing can be found at the 2018 Yorkshire Ebor Festival. In Worcester, Worcestershire Rapids play Gloucestershire in the Vitality T20 Blast quarter-finals. Cycling action comes from Málaga, with Stage 1 of the Vuelta a España. In the AFL, leaders Richmond face Western Bulldogs. The seventh day of Asian Games action gets underway in Indonesia, with another frantic day of sport forecast.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Catalan Dragons; Warrington Wolves
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