OPPOSITION CORNER: Leeds Rhinos seeking first Challenge Cup success since 1999

OPPOSITION VIEW: Leeds Rhinos seeking first Challenge Cup success since 1999

OPPOSITION VIEW: Leeds Rhinos seeking first Challenge Cup success since 1999

First published in Wolves

LEEDS Rhinos head into Saturday’s semi final looking to keep hopes of a first Challenge Cup crown this millennium alive.

The last of Rhinos’ 11 Challenge Cup successes came in 1999, when they beat London 52-16 at Wembley in front of 73,242 people.

Leeds fans had to wait more than 20 years to return the cup to Headingley Carnegie after successive triumphs in 1976-77 and 1977-78.

Rhinos have come close many times since 1999, on five occasions finishing runners-up, including defeat to Wolves in 2010 and 2012.

That was the last time they reached the final, only to be beaten 35-18 by Tony Smith’s men. Brian McDermott’s side would, however, gain revenge in the Grand Final six weeks later.

Rhinos’ run to the semi final saw them overcome Championship leaders Leigh Centurions at the quarter-final stage.

The hosts were pushed all the way by Paul Rowley’s side, with Leigh matching Rhinos 12-12 at half time at Headingley.

Leeds’ Super League class then shone through as they scored 13 unanswered points after the break to book a semi-final spot.

Having seen off Yorkshire rivals Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the fourth round stage, 6-60, Rhinos overcame a tricky Round Five tie with St Helens, winning 32-12.

Wolves were also forced to see off Super League opposition in their run to the last four, opening with a 28-24 win at Hull KR.

Smith’s side then eased past Doncaster, 68-0, and booked their semi-final place at Langtree Park with a 46-10 win at Bradford Bulls.

This is the first time the sides have met in a Challenge Cup semi final since 1975, when Warrington won 11-4.

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