Bradford Bulls coach Kear faces Wakefield Trinity return for Challenge Cup cracker

The Coral Challenge Cup. Picture by Alex Whitehead SWpix.comThe Coral Challenge Cup. Picture by Alex Whitehead
The Coral Challenge Cup. Picture by Alex Whitehead | freelance
Challenge Cup king John Kear will aim to shock his former club, Wakefield Trinity, in the fifth round of this year’s competition.

Trinity were drawn at home to Betfred Championship side Bradford Bulls, who are coached by Kear and knocked Leeds Rhinos out of last season’s tournament.

Another derby will see League One Hunslet travel to Championship promotion hopefuls Featherstone Rovers.

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Dewsbury Rams will be away to Newcastle Thunder, if they win their delayed fourth round tie at Whitehaven.

Chris ChesterChris Chester
Chris Chester

The sides finishing from ninth to 11th in Super League last year, plus promoted Toronto Wolfpack, enter the competition a round earlier than the rest of the top-flight clubs.

Kear coached Wakefield from 2006-2011 and had a spell there as director of rugby before joining Bulls in 2017.

Twice a Challenge Cup winner as head coach, with Sheffield Eagles in 1998 and Hull seven years later, he is famous for masterminding shocks in the famous competition.

Trinity coach Chris Chester was happy with home advantage.

He said: "We just wanted anybody at home.

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“You need a bit of luck in Challenge Cup draws and we wanted a home draw.

“I’m delighted we got that. We know it is going to be a tough game against John's men. I am looking forward to it."

The two worked together at Wakefield, but Chester added: “I haven't faced him as a head coach, it will be the first time we have come up against each other.

"He is a good friend of mine and I learned a lot from him as a coach.

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"It should be an interesting afternoon or night, whatever day it is on."

Rovers and Hunslet both squeezed through to the next stage thanks to last-gasp tries in fourth round ties at home to Barrow Raiders and away against North Wales respectively.

Rams’ game at Whitehaven was postponed two days ago due to a waterlogged pitch. A new date has not yet been announced.

Toronto will travel to Huddersfield Giants in an all-Super League tie, despite being drawn as the home team.

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The other Super League club, Hull KR, were handed a tough home fixture against current Championship leaders Leigh Centurions.

Ties will be played on the weekend of March 14/15.

Rhinos and Castleford Tigers will enter the competition in the sixth round, which will be played on the weekend of April 4/5.

The quarter-finals are on May 9/10 with a semi-final double-header at Bolton on June 6.

This year’s final will be staged at Wembley on July 18, the first time it has been played in that month.

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The full draw is: Wakefield Trinity v Bradford Bulls, Widnes Vikings v Swinton Lions, Sheffield Eagles v Workington Town, Newcastle Thunder v Whitehaven/Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers v Hunslet, Toronto Wolfpack v Huddersfield Giants (to be played at Huddersfield), Hull KR v Leigh Centurions, York City Knights v Rochdale Hornets.