Flashback: Five Top Challenge Cup Finals
Wembley awaits Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils as the two sides prepare to battle it out to become Coral Challenge Cup Champions on Saturday afternoon. To celebrate such a special occasion, we’ve dug into the archives to find five of our favourite Cup Finals from years gone by…
1968 – Leeds 11 Wakefield 10
Let’s start with one of the most memorable Cup Finals in the competition’s history when Leeds beat Wakefield 11-10 to win the Challenge Cup in 1968. Named the ‘Watersplash’ Final after a mid game storm caused the pitch to become waterlogged, a try from John Atkinson and four goals from Bev Risman didn’t seem to be enough for men in blue and amber to lift the cup as Kenneth Hirst’s try with one minute remaining looked to be sending Wakefield home with their sixth Cup. Having been nominated as the Lance Todd winner, Don Fox only needed to convert the try but slipped on the wet surface, forcing the kick wide and giving Leeds the win.
Subs: Langley, Joyce
1977 – Leeds 16 Widnes 7
After starting the 1970s with two defeats in the Cup Final, Leeds bounced back in 1977 to beat Widnes 16-7 in the capital. Going into the game as underdogs, Kevin Dick scored ten of Leeds’ 16 points, running in for one try, kicking three goals and one drop goal, while prop Steve Pitchford had one of his most memorable games in a Leeds jersey, winning the Lance Todd trophy as Widnes were defeated 16-7.
1999 – Leeds Rhinos 52 London Broncos 16
Head coach Graham Murray masterminded Leeds to Challenge Cup glory for the first time in 21 years in 1999. Four tries from winger Leroy Rivett stole the headlines for the Rhinos, while captain Iestyn Harris also became the joint top scorer in the Cup Final, drawing level with Neil Fox on 20 points (one try and eight goals). Brad Godden, Francis Cummins, Barrie McDermott and Marcus St Hilaire also scored tries in the 52-16 win as Harris lifted the Cup in front of a packed Wembley crowd.
Leeds: Iestyn Harris (T, 8G), Leroy Rivett (4T), Richie Blackmore, Brad Godden (T), Francis Cummins (T), Daryl Powell, Ryan Sheridan, Barrie McDermott (T), Terry Newton, Darren Fleary, Adrian Morley, Anthony Farrell, Marc Glanville
Subs: Marcus St Hilaire (T), Lee Jackson, Andy Hay, Jamie Mathiou
2014 – Leeds Rhinos 23 Castleford Tigers 10
Having lost their previous six Cup Finals following 1999’s Cup victory, Leeds broke their Wembley hoodoo in 2014 with a 23-10 win over Castleford Tigers. Tom Briscoe got the Rhinos scoring underway, touching down in the corner, before Danny McGuire rose above Luke Dorn to take a chip from Rob Burrow and go over the try line. A further two tries from Ryan Hall earned the winger the Lance Todd Man of the Match trophy and a further drop goal from McGuire sent the Cup back to Headingley.
Leeds: Zak Hardaker, Tom Briscoe (T), Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall (2T), Kevin Sinfield (3G), Danny McGuire (T, DG), Kylie Leuluai, Rob Burrow, Jamie Peacock, Brett Delaney, Carl Ablett, Jamie Jones-Buchanan
Subs: Ian Kirke, Ryan Bailey, Paul Aiton, Liam Sutcliffe
2015 – Leeds Rhinos 50 Hull KR 0
The Rhinos got their first of three pieces of domestic silverware in 2015 with a historic 50-0 win over Hull KR at Wembley. Lance Todd trophy winner Tom Briscoe set a number of records over the 80 minutes, becoming the highest try scorer in the Final with his five tries and the joint highest points scorer in the Final (20 points). Rob Burrow, Brett Delaney, Danny McGuire and Brad Singleton also crossed the whitewash as Leeds lifted the Cup for a second consecutive season.
Leeds: Zak Hardaker, Tom Briscoe (5T), Kallum Watkins, Joel Moon, Ryan Hall, Kevin Sinfield (7G), Danny McGuire (T), Mitch Garbutt, Adam Cuthbertson, Jamie Peacock, Carl Ablett, Stevie Ward, Brett Delaney (T)