Rugby League: Eagles moment has arrived as London are final Don Valley test

Misi Taulapapa and the Eagles couldn't be stopped against Swinton last weekend
Misi Taulapapa and the Eagles couldn't be stopped against Swinton last weekend
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The wait is over for Sheffield Eagles as they attempt to write another chapter in the history of the Challenge Cup.

The Eagles class of ‘98 upset the odds to win the trophy with a victory over Wigan at the old Wembley stadium.

The current team are limbering up for a similar shock result when they bid to become the first team from the Championship to reach a Challenge Cup semi-final.

In the way at Don Valley Stadium tomorrow night (kick-off 8pm) are Super League strugglers London Broncos.

Eagles go into the game on the back of a 15-game winning run and London look vulnerable after losing 16 of their 20 league games this season.

It’s could be a night to remember for the Eagles part-time players as Don Valley stages it’s last high-profile game before the bulldozers move in later this year.

Coach Mark Aston knows about creating an upset after taking the man-of-the-match award in the 1998 final but says this is a very different challenge.

“Some people think we’re favourites but how can a part-time club be favourites?” he said. “London are full-time, we’re part-time, they train more in a day than we can in a week. But we’re at Don Valley and they won’t like that. We’ve got nothing to lose, they have everything to lose.

“We seems to have been waiting weeks for this game, now it’s here and we want to make a bit more history for the club. To make the semi-final would be massive.

“We’ll go out there and give it everything. London should hold all the cards but maybe the gap between the top of the Championship and the bottom of the Super League isn’t that wide.”

London lost 34-28 at Catalan Dragons at the weekend but there was a warning in their performance as they came close to a shock win scoring 24 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes.

The Broncos have the worst defence in the Super League but the arrival of short-term signing of Australian half-back Jamie Soward has given the attack a new drive.

Eagles showed their attacking flair - if only in short bursts - as they kept their narrow lead at the top of the Championship with a 34-10 victory over Swinton Lions.

Centre Menzie Yere scored four tries to bring his total for the season to 31. Tom Armstrong and Matt Garside got the other two with Dominic Brambani kicking five goals.

Dozens of ex-players, including members of the 1998 Challenge Cup winning squad will be guests of the club.

With demolition work due to start in the autumn Sky Sports will be showing their last live game from Don Valley Stadium, where Eagles moved to in 1990.

“We’re going to enjoy the night and I’m sure there will be plenty of memories,” said Aston. “It’s a chance to show the progress the club has made and remind people we hope to bring Super League back to the city.”