Challenge Cup 2022: St Helens prop Kyle Amor relishing sixth-round homecoming against Whitehaven

Kyle Amor grew up supporting Whitehaven and began his professional career with hometown club, but now returns on Saturday as Challenge Cup holders St Helens visit the West Cumbrian part-timers in the sixth round

Last Updated: 24/03/22 4:08pm


St Helens prop Kyle Amor returns to hometown club Whitehaven in the Challenge Cup on Saturday

Kyle Amor knows full well what it means to his hometown of Whitehaven to be welcoming a Betfred Super League side to West Cumbria in the Betfred Challenge Cup. Saturday will, however, mark the first time he has been on the opposing team.

Growing up on the edge of the Lake District, the former Hensingham amateur remembers watching Warrington Wolves, coached by former Haven boss Paul Cullen, visit The Recreation Ground – these days known as at the LEL Arena – with thousands packed into the terraces to get a glimpse of some of the stars of the top-flight.

Amor would later go on to play in rugby league’s most prestigious knock-out competition with Whitehaven too, albeit with his first Cup experience being a somewhat less glamorous affair in a 24-18 defeat away to Blackpool Panthers in 2010.

But on Saturday at 2pm the prop returns home to experience Challenge Cup rugby at ‘The Recre’ as a member of Kristian Woolf’s all-conquering St Helens team and while he admits it will be strange to be on the opposing team in this sixth-round clash, he expects plenty to still be the same as his formative years.

“It’s just how busy the town was,” Amor said recalling his memories of Haven’s high-profile Cup matches of his youth. “It was packed, and everyone was excited to be involved with it, really, and see the superstars of the game come to town.

“It is a massive, massive rugby league-supporting area and they’d watch any game, so to have them coming onto their doorstep is incredible for everybody involved. I’ve no doubt there will be a decent crowd there come the weekend.

“It will be a bit of a weird one, but quite a cool experience, I think. I’ve never played on there as a rival against Whitehaven, so it will be very nice and very fitting as well.

It will be a bit of a weird one, but quite a cool experience, I think. I’ve never played on there as a rival against Whitehaven, so it will be very nice and very fitting as well.

St Helens’ Kyle Amor on playing against his hometown club

“But ultimately rugby league doesn’t owe anyone any sentiment. We are at a good club with good players who are stinging off the back of a loss.”

The connections between Saints and Haven go beyond Amor though, with a relative of one of the former’s all-time greats now plying his trade for the latter.

Alex Bishop is grandson of former Great Britain captain Tommy Bishop, who was also a Cup winner with St Helens in 1966 and now resides in Redcliffe, Queensland after enjoying a successful playing and coaching career in Australia following his move there in 1969.

Whitehaven half-back or hooker Bishop has always tried to put into practice the words of advice from his grandfather, although he admits there are still some things he is getting used to after moving to the Betfred Championship part-timers from Australia in the winter, not least of all the local accent.

St Helens great Tommy Bishop has had plenty of advice for grandson Alex, now playing for Whitehaven

St Helens great Tommy Bishop has had plenty of advice for grandson Alex, now playing for Whitehaven

“There are some words I’m still getting my head around, especially during the game when some of the lads are saying stuff and I’m looking at them like ‘you’re going to have to say that again’,” Bishop said.

“Other than that, rugby is rugby; everyone runs similar shapes and defensive systems, you’ve just got to get your head around what this club does, what they call it and getting the chemistry between the other players and the coaching staff.

“My grandad says a few things before I play: He says, ‘take them on’ and in terms of footy just be as fit as you can be. If you’re fit enough and you give it your all, something will happen around you.”

That last part is certainly something Amor has done during his career, earning a move from Haven to Super League with Leeds Rhinos and then Wakefield Trinity before finding a long-term home at Saints, where he has been part of four Grand Final-winning teams since joining in 2014.

It was everything and even to score there as well was something that no matter what happens for the rest of my career, nobody can take that away from me.

Kyle Amor on last year’s Challenge Cup final success

Last year saw the 34-year-old gain a Challenge Cup winners’ medal too, scoring the opening try at Wembley in the 26-12 win over Castleford Tigers as St Helens lifted the trophy for the first time since 2008 and it will always be a crowning moment for him, whether or not the holders get back to the showpiece this year at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 28.

“It was everything and even to score there as well was something that no matter what happens for the rest of my career, nobody can take that away from me,” Amor said.

“It was awesome and given the fact the way we’d lost two years earlier [to Warrington] when we’d gone in as favourites…that hurt a lot so to get back there, get it done and end that 13-year hoodoo with our club was massive.

“To score there as well was awesome and in that sense, it was the final piece of the puzzle. I can remember sitting on the bus having a beer on the way home thinking if it all ended tomorrow, I’ve done everything and conquered everything I’ve wanted to do.”



Source link

Latest

Orionid meteor shower 2022: When, where & how to see it

The Orionid meteor shower will peak between Oct. 21...

White House Puts Up $2 Billion In Loans For Controversial Buildout Of CO2 Pipelines

To hit its climate goals, the United States is...

Rochester Reaches $12M Settlement With Daniel Prude’s Kids

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — City officials agreed to pay...

Teenage Singer’s Death Highlights Sorry Tale of Health Sector in Assam’s Majuli; Probe Launched

It’s a sombre milieu at Baruah’s residence at Dariyagaon...

Report: NBA teams salivating over prospect Wembanyama, prompting tanking fears

| October 6, 2022, 10:56 AMOctober 6, 2022, 10:56 AM Seven-foot-four French prospect Victor Wembanyama has yet to play an NBA game, but he's...