Hauraki hopes third time's the charm

Thursday, 21, August, 2014
Weller Hauraki playing for Leeds Rhinos at Wembley

Castleford’s Weller Hauraki is hoping he can cure his Wembley heartache this weekend when the Tigers visit the national stadium.

The New Zealander saw his Leeds side defeated in both the 2011 and 2012 Challenge Cup Finals and he hopes the Rhinos’ misery continues this weekend when they face his new team under the arch.

“I played against Warrington in 2012 and I was in the squad against Wigan (in 2011), but I didn’t play in that one,” Hauraki recalled of his Cup exploits in blue and amber.

“I am over the moon to be going back and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to again play at Wembley.”

“I said to the boys after the Wigan game (in the quarter-finals), hopefully we can play Leeds if we get that far.

“I wouldn’t want to play any other team than Leeds in the final.”

The Tigers have enjoyed an incredible campaign under Coach Daryl Powell and, despite a lack of Challenge Cup experience, find themselves in Saturday’s final.

Hauraki is one of just three players in the Castleford ranks to have played in a Challenge Cup Final before and the Kiwi admits it’s down to those with the experience to act as leaders this weekend.

“After you have played there you know the hype and what goes on around the weekend,” reflected Hauraki, who will join Salford Red Devils next year.

“You know what to do and what not to do on the day and it helps you. Hopefully we can pass that on to the other boys and calm them down.”

After the Tigers finished third-from-bottom in First Utility Super League last year few would have tipped Castleford to go all the way in this season’s Challenge Cup.

Hauraki admits there are fairy tale elements to Castleford’s cup story but that shouldn’t distract them from their job at Wembley this Saturday.

“All the Cas boys were talking at the start of the year and they were saying they only dream of things like this.

“Now the dream has come true for some of these boys and we’re just looking forward to the final.

“I think we deserve to be there and Leeds will say the same. We are chuffed to be there, but we want to finish the job if we can.”

For more information on this year's Challenge Cup Final at Wembley click here

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