Huddersfield Giants face Hull KR in the Betfred Challenge Cup semi-final at Elland Road on Saturday May 7 (5.00). It is the first time in 10 years the club has made it to this stage of the tournament and they are aiming to reach the Challenge Cup final for the first time since 2009.
The Giants have made it to two Challenge Cup finals since 2005, losing both, the first being in 2006 and then again in 2009. They made it to a semi-final in 2012 where they lost to Warrington Wolves 33-6.
Giants’ prop Matty English is gutted to be missing out on a great RL occasion which will also see St Helens take on Wigan Warriors in the other semi-final and the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens at the same venue on the same afternoon.
English, 24, has risen through the Giants academy to become a first team regular. He made his debut for the first team in the Challenge Cup in 2017 against Swinton Lions.
He misses the semi-final after the Rugby Football League’s review panel gave him a one-match ban for a Grade B dangerous contact offence in the win over Wakefield. English will have to back his teammates from the stands to keep his Challenge Cup dreams alive.
“I’m gutted I can’t play,” said English. “When I heard I was banned some of the older lads came to me put their arm around me. They’ve said they are going to get to the final for me, which was lovely of them to do and something I appreciated. All I want to do is play and do my best for the team. I’ve done all I can to help the lads prepare for the game in training.
“I’ll be there willing the lads on, I just really want us to win. It’s a big game for us and a moment for the club. They haven’t got this far since 2012 and I was still in the academy back then.”
Despite being born in Leeds and living in Wakefield, English has spent all of his career – bar a brief spell at Dewsbury Rams – at Huddersfield. English is proud to pull on the Giants’ shirt and has made over 50 appearances so far for the club.
Nicknamed the Polar Bear, English hopes the Giants fans will roar on the team at Elland Road.
He said: “Hull KR are a good team who have had some good results this season. We haven’t had the best of Easters and so it will be a good test for us. However I have every confidence in the lads to pull it off.”
The Giants currently sit 5th in the Betfred Super League with Hull KR one place behind them.
English loves it at the Giants and believes he’s still got lots to learn.
“I came out of the academy and I’m really enjoying my progression,” he said. “I’ve played a lot more games this season which is great. I still count myself as a young player really and I have lots to learn but it’s great to have those older guys around the squad.
“Ian (Watson, Giants head coach) has let me flourish this year and given me great confidence to go out there and make a difference. When I was younger it was exciting to be on the bench but now I want to start games.”
The Challenge Cup Final is at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday May 28.