Rivals Look Forward to Historic Clash

If history is an accurate guide, the winners of Sunday's fourth-round Carnegie Challenge Cup tie between Widnes and Wigan can book their hotels in London for the August 25 final.

On each of the last 10 occasions the two teams have met in the Cup, the victors have gone on to reach the final except for the two occasions they clashed at Wembley.

Widnes were the Cup kings of the 1970s and early 1980s, with eight Wembley appearances in 11 years, before handing over the mantle to Wigan, who lifted the famous trophy eight years in a row from 1988.

Vikings' Wigan-born coach Steve McCormack supported his hometown team as a child - he is among three generations of Wigan fans - and more than most appreciates the importance of tomorrow's tie at the Halton Stadium.

"The first Wembley final I went to was Wigan-Widnes in 1993 when Joe Lyon scored the long-range tries," recalled McCormack, whose father Jim played for Wigan.

"Both teams are steeped in Challenge Cup history. It means a lot to this club and its supporters, as it does to Wigan.

"With the final being at Wembley, it adds even more to the excitement. There is always anticipation when the Cup comes around."

Wigan became the first team to lift the Cup at Wembley, courtesy of their 13-2 win over Dewsbury in 1929, and would dearly love to make history for a second time.

"Tradition and Challenge Cup history has nothing to do with this current crop of players," said Warriors coach Brian Noble.

"They've got the chance to write their own destiny and they are very keen to do well."

Wigan, who fell at the second hurdle last year, won all three Super League encounters with Widnes in 2005 when the Vikings were last in the top division.

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