James Roby believes his players are up for the task of taking on the Leeds Rhinos in the fifth round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Saturday (2.30pm).
In what is arguably the tie of the round, the two heavy weights of the Super League are once again going head-to-head in the prestigious competition and Roby believes Saints healthy run of results since the start of the season give them the edge.
“Everything has been going well, we have had a few lucky escapes and obviously we are undefeated so far,” said Roby. “We managed to scrape through with a drop goal against Huddersfield in the last round but there is a hell of a long way to go in the season.
“There are always areas of your game that you can improve on, be it individually or as a team. Every match is tough and you have to be at the top of your game to win.
“On the one hand you are not so happy because you have not performed to the best that you can, but on the other hand you are pleased because you showed a desire and effort to win.”
St Helens have enjoyed lots of past success in the Challenge Cup, winning 12 of their 21 final appearances, with former Man of Steel Roby being a part of the victories in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
However, they have not always been as successful against Leeds, losing all four of the pair’s Grand Final meetings but Roby says the team has what it takes to break the spell, particularly having beaten the Rhinos in the league only a few weeks ago.
“We have got a good blend of experience and youth in the squad. In the Leeds game, when we played them the first time, a lot of young lads came in and took their chance,” said Roby.
“They stepped up to the plate and we got the win – it can only be good for the club in the long term.
“The Challenge Cup is ideal for knockout Rugby League but ideally you don’t want to play yourself into that position in the first place.
“We have played so many big matches against them in finals and grand finals. They are a great side with international players across the board. There is a group of players who have been there years but we know that we are up to the job.”
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth round at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Saturday April 26 are available from as little as £17 for adults, £13 for concessions and £5 for juniors.
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 cost from as little as £22 and can be purchased by calling the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.