24th January 2019, 09:48
Torfaen Tigers all prepared to travel to Cumbria for the Coral Challenge Cup
TORFAEN Tigers have completed their preparation for Saturday’s long trip to Cumbria to face Distington ARLFC in the first round of the 2019 Coral Challenge Cup (kick-off 2pm).
The Tigers, who finished runners up in the Welsh Premier League last year, and are now set to compete in the new RFL-run Southern Conference League, know that the going will be tough, especially with a 300-mile journey before they step off the bus. The Cumbrians reached the third round of the Challenge Cup last year before being knocked out by Coventry Bears.
It's the fourth season in a row that Wales' community representatives have been presented with an away tie and the second time in four years that they’ve been presented with a trip to Cumbria.
Distington, a small village with a population of around 4,000, is just three miles south of Workington and four miles north of Whitehaven, so are certain to pull in a few fans from both of those professional clubs.
Tigers’ coach Matthew Cummings said: “We’re looking forward to it. It’s the first chance we’ve had to play in the Challenge Cup for a few years, London Chargers was our last one in 2014 where we narrowly lost, so it’s good to be back. The boys are up for it, we had a good competitive training session with West Wales Raiders last Sunday, so we’re ready to go.
“We’ve been back in training since the start of the month, but the Raiders session gave us a chance to put a bit of physicality in there, run through a few shapes and get closer to a game situation.
“We know Distington are going to be good and well-trained and they’ll be completely rugby league orientated when most of our lads play both codes. We’ve a few players missing as some of our boys play a high level of rugby union in the winter, but the pack is pretty much the same as played in last year’s final and competed all last season.
“We’re as unknown to them as they are to us, so it’ll be an interesting match-up.”
West Wales Raiders and North Wales Crusaders enter the competition in round three, with Super League clubs coming in from round five. The final is at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 24th August.
Distington v Torfaen Tigers will be Wales' 80th game in the famous competition that started in 1896. It is world rugby’s oldest surviving knockout competition.