Wigan Warriors are the most successful side in the Coral Challenge Cup’s 119-year history and Captain Sean O’Loughlin is hoping for another trip to Wembley Stadium with his boyhood club in 2020.
After being a part of the travelling squad for Wigan’s 2002 Challenge Cup victory at Murrayfield, O’Loughlin would finally lift the trophy for himself in 2011 ending a nine-year wait between drinks for the Warriors.
Similarly, Wigan are currently suffering a run of six years without lifting the famous trophy and O’Loughlin has his eyes on breaking a Warriors Cup winning drought for the second time in his career.
O’Loughlin said: “I grew up watching Wigan’s dominance of the competition in the 1990s.
“The club then won it in my early years, but I wasn’t involved, and it was at Murrayfield, but of course it was still massive.
“In 2011, it had been a long time since Wigan had last won the Challenge Cup. It was almost ten years before we managed to do it again and we’d been involved in quite a few Semi-Finals and maybe had developed a bit of a reputation for losing Semi-Finals.
“When we finally got there and won it was a massive relief for us and it was a big monkey off my back getting my hands on the Challenge Cup as Captain.
“Getting your hands on the Challenge Cup for the first time is special and was a massive milestone in my career.”
O’Loughlin’s first taste of Challenge Cup success came in the form of a 28-18 victory over their Semi-Final opponents this weekend – Leeds Rhinos.
The game is remembered for a stunning try involving Wigan-born brothers Sam and Joel Tomkins who linked-up to score from their own half under the Wembley arch; a try which left O’Loughlin with a somewhat surreal feeling post-match.
“I didn’t think about it so much until I re-watched it on the TV after the game.
“Immediately, it reminded me of being a kid and seeing Martin Offiah scoring against Leeds in the 1994 Final when he went around Alan Tait.
“It sank in after the match that I’d been on the field whilst one of those moments happened and it was a real weird position to be in because it’s the thing that game is – and always will be – remembered for.”
Wigan Warriors face Leeds Rhinos for a place in the 2020 Coral Challenge Cup Final live on BBC One on Saturday 3 October from 2:30pm. Coverage begins at 2pm.