BBC Sport rugbyleague

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 16:00 UK

Agar ignores Cup odds

Venue: Wembley Stadium, London Date: Saturday 30 August Kick-off: 1430 BST Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Merseyside 1485 AM and BBC Radio Humberside

Hull FC coach Richard Agar is doing his best to accentuate the positives as his side prepare to tackle red-hot favourites St Helens in Saturday's Challenge Cup final.

Hull star Shaun Berrigan
This means a lot to the fans, the club, and to us as a team

Hull hooker Shaun Berrigan
Saints go into the match looking to win the most famous trophy in rugby league for the third year in a row.

And a glance at the Super League table does not make comfortable reading for Hull fans, with Saints sitting pretty at the top and Hull languishing second from bottom.

St Helens have scored an astonishing 191 tries in league and cup so far this season, almost double Hull's 101, and are on a 20-match winning streak.

But Agar is refusing to be cowed by the statistics or the bookmakers' odds of 11/2 against his side springing an upset.

"We like playing against Saints," Agar told BBC Radio Humberside.

"They come to play, they don't try to wrestle you to death and pile numbers in the tackle.

"They like a fast game and to use the ball and be entertaining and that's what we like to do as well.

"It's not a game where they ruck is always the primary concern. They are very fast and fit and very well disciplined but you do get a chance to get into the flow against them."

Agar, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father Alan by getting his hands on the Challenge Cup, said the players should relish the big occasion.

"Everybody is going to do enjoy it," he said.

"I want the families, the players, the fans to enjoy the day, but I know we will enjoy it more if we win.

"We are massive underdogs, but we're not going to tickle their tummies for them. This is our third major final in fourth years. I'm also the third different coach, but I hope that isn't too much of an omen.

"When people look back in the club's history, this time has been a bumpy one and there has been some turbulence at times but three major finals in four years is a pretty good achievement.

"Despite one or two rollercoaster moments we have had we've survived and it's been a pretty good time for the club. We haven't been out of the top four apart from this year. This can be another good time for the club.

"We're one of the biggest clubs in the game, with the history and pride, a fanatical fan base - who wouldn't be as proud as punch to be here?"

That sense of pride is certainly not lost on Hull's Australian hooker Shaun Berrigan, who will be playing in his first Challenge Cup final.

"This means a lot to the fans, the club, and to us as a team," he said.

"That is why we play team sports: to win something.

"We have to be very disciplined. Not give them an inch, kick and chase and complete your sets and not to be the first one to crack.

"Every team is beatable. Richard Agar will give us a game plan and if we stick to that for 80 minutes and complete our sets we will have a definite chance."

Listen to the full interviews on BBC Humber's Challenge Cup Final Special from Wembley Stadium on 95.9FM and online from 1330 BST on Saturday

see also
Hull star Tony ruled out of final
29 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Wilkin's player profiles
28 Aug 08 |  St Helens
Saints to shun Wembley walkabout
26 Aug 08 |  St Helens
Ask Jon Wilkin
26 Aug 08 |  St Helens
St Helens to let Sculthorpe leave
14 Aug 08 |  St Helens
Radford ready to shock St Helens
27 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Wakefield 24-32 Hull FC
27 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Leeds Rhinos 16-26 St Helens
26 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Anderson relieved to make Wembley
26 Jul 08 |  Rugby League

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites