Big Match preview: The Semi-Final

Big Match preview: The Semi-Final

by | Jul 26, 2017

This weekend the Red Devils will compete in their first Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final for twenty years as they travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium to face Wigan Warriors.
Ian Watson’s men now see themselves just one game away from their first Wembley appearance since 1969 but they must overcome the most successful club in the competitions history.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s semi-final clash with Wigan.
Form
It’s been a difficult few week for Ian Watson’s men as a disappointing 25-0 defeat to Super League strugglers Leigh Centurions made it three defeats on the bounce for the Red Devils.
Despite suffering three successive defeats Salford secured their highest ever Super League finish and will still head into the semi-final full of confidence after their most promising season in recent memory.
After a troublesome period midway through the Super League season Shaun Wane’s Wigan side have returned to form in recent weeks and are currently six games unbeaten.
The Warriors come into the game on the back of a dominant 34-0 victory over 2nd placed side Leeds Rhinos at the DW Stadium. Youngsters George Williams and Oliver Gildart both crossed for braces in a game which saw Wigan almost return to a full-strength 17.
Wigan have also notched up impressive victories over Widnes, Catalans and Warrington in recent weeks and head into Sunday’s semi-final in their best form of the season.
The Route so far
Salford’s journey to the semi-finals begun in late April as they narrowly overcame League One newcomers Toronto Wolfpack at the The Salford Stadium. Greg Johnson crossed twice before Gareth O’Brien’s drop-goal all but confirmed victory.
After knocking off the League One league leaders Salford also dispatched of the eventual Championship winners Hull KR, again at the The Salford Stadium, turning over a 14-0 deficit to progress.
A third successive home game followed for the Red Devils as they comfortably defeated Wakefield Trinity 30-6.
Wigan’s cup run began with a 12-42 victory against Championship strugglers Swinton, who had defeated Super League opposition Huddersfield in the previous round.
The Warriors edged out Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the quarter-finals thanks to a Sam Tomkins drop-goal. A Joe Burgess double had put Wigan ahead but John Bateman’s try followed by Tomkins’ one-pointer ensured Wigan came out on top in a back-and-forth affair.
The meetings this season
The Red Devils were victorious the last time the sides met in May at the DW Stadium. Salford ran into a 28-0 lead with tries from Kris Welham, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Greg Johnson alongside a Niall Evalds double. Gareth O’Brien added a late drop-goal and penalty to seal the victory.
However, Wigan did open their 2017 Super League campaign with a win against the Red Devils at the The Salford Stadium. The Warriors crossed for five unanswered tries inside the first-half but Ian Watson’s men didn’t lie down with tries from Kriss Brining, Junior Sa’u and Michael Dobson however they couldn’t complete the comeback.
 

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