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Robbie Hunter-Paul will again be on the pitch at Wembley Stadium in August to give BBC TV viewers the benefit of his expert analysis on the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final.
But unlike in previous finals, the Lance Todd Trophy winner will have reached the sport’s historic showcase event the hard way as a rider on the UK Red Ride to Wembley for Rugby League Cares.
Robbie, who in 1996 became the first player to score a hat-trick of tries in a Wembley final, is the latest Rugby League superstar to sign up for the gruelling endurance test that will see 25 riders negotiate bridleways, forest trails, canal towpaths and the occasional stretch of open moorland on a 300-mile off-road ride from Old Trafford to the national stadium.
He will join the man who hoisted the famous old trophy in the last two Challenge Cup finals, former Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis, ex-Leeds Rhinos stars Keith Senior and Chev Walker and former Castleford Tigers skipper Andy Lynch along with 17 other cyclists on the challenge.
“I’ve been involved in charity work since I retired and have done a few challenges but never an endurance event like the UK Red Ride to Wembley and I know it’s going to be tough,” said the former Bradford Bulls, Salford, Huddersfield, Leigh and New Zealand half-back.
“I’ve kept myself fit and I train regularly but the longest session I do is 27 minutes! A week on a bike cycling off-road is something else!
“There is some apprehension but also a lot of excitement. I’m looking forward to spending a week with some people I know very well: I was a team-mate of Lynchy’s at Bradford and I’ve played with Keith in the Legends games a few times.
“I’ve also worked with Chev in the last few years and still have some bruises from playing against Gareth: it’s going to be fun, there’s a real commonality between us all, we understand each other.
“The main reason I’m involved, though, is not to test myself or enjoy the challenge but to raise funds for Rugby League Cares, a charity that’s very close to my heart.
“The support it provides for players is really important and I want to do what I can to engage that community in the fundraising. The more we raise, the more help Rugby League Cares can give to people involved at every level of the sport.”
Chris Rostron, the Head of Rugby League Cares, said: “I’d like to welcome Robbie to the UK Red Ride to Wembley and I’m sure he’s going to be an important member of our close-knit fundraising team, both before and during the ride.
“Robbie is going to be part of the BBC’s delivery team at the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final and we’re all looking forward to seeing how his legs hold up on the Wembley pitch after completing what will have been a tough challenge over the previous five days!
“It’s fantastic that so many former players are getting behind the Ride to Wembley and pledging their support for the charity and its work.”
If you would like to sponsor Robbie Hunter-Paul or any of the other riders on the 2018 UK Red Ride to Wembley, please click here.
Save 15 per cent off tickets for the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, August 25 by purchasing before April 8. Tickets start from £20 for adults and £5 for juniors and can be purchased by calling the Rugby League Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or by clicking here
Fans booking in groups of 15 or more can save 40 per cent until May 29, with tickets starting from only £12 for adults. Please call the RFL group sales team on 0844 856 1115 for more details.