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Wigan v Huddersfield: Challenge Cup Final - Preview

Saturday sees rugby league's showpiece cup competition come to a conclusion as Wigan Warriors and Huddersfield Giants meet at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to contest the Challenge Cup final.

Wigan overcame fierce rivals St Helens in the semi-finals to reach the final and also perhaps strike a blow to the Saints in terms of the Super League title race.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, were triumphant against Hull KR in the last four and will be looking to lift the trophy for the first time since way back in 1953.

As it stands, Wigan are priced at 4/11 to win, while Huddersfield are available at 11/5.

Peet stamps his mark on Wigan

Matt Peet was a pretty unheralded appointment when taking over at the DW Stadium in the off-season as he replaced the departing Adrian Lam.

Wigan were viewed as being some way off competing against the likes of Saints and Catalans Dragons, but former coaching assistant Peet, aided by former stalwarts Sean O'Loughlin and Lee Briers - along with the returning Shaun Wane in a director role - has done an excellent job.

In the league, they are only four points off top spot and the one negative coming into the final against Huddersfield is that they have lost each of their last two Super League games - one of which was to the Giants.

Overall though, they have done a great job this season and there have been some stellar performances from individuals too - full-back Jai Field is the joint top tryscorer and has been a bundle of energy in attack, while Cade Cust has impressed in his first season after joining from the NRL.

Amazingly, despite being the record Cup winners with 19 titles, Wigan have gone nine years without winning the trophy and will view this as a golden opportunity to end that barren run.

Giants look to cup celebration

Ian Watson and the Giants have arguably been the surprise packages in Super League this season and a win in the Challenge Cup would certainly boost their credentials to be the team of the season so far.

Last year, they could only manage a ninth-place finish in the league as Watson's first season proved to be fairly mediocre.

However, he has previously shown he is capable of taking teams all the way, getting Salford Red Devils to the Super League Grand Final in 2019 and Challenge Cup final in 2020, and that Midas touch has been there once more this term.

They lie fourth in the table and only Saints and Catalans have a better defensive record, while only Hull FC's Jake Connor has assisted more tries than Tui Lolohea.

Despite being at the back end of his career, Jermaine McGillvary is still a very dangerous player and Huddersfield know they have the talent in attack to cause Wigan some problems.

English coaches buck Aussie trend

When appointing new coaches in Super League, many clubs have opted to go down the Southern Hemisphere route in recent times with Rohan Smith's move to Leeds Rhinos the most recent example.

As it stands, there are only six English coaches among the 12 clubs, with another five hailing from either Australia or New Zealand - a more commonplace approach taken by clubs.

Peet never even played professionally, which added to the almost mystique surrounding his appointment, but the two coaches taking part in Saturday's final have proven to be more than capable at this level.

Particularly if Wigan win, it may tempt clubs into looking for more homegrown coaches when the time comes.

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