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Welshman Chester Butler Set for Biggest Game of Career in Challenge Cup

Wales rugby league centre Chester Butler is set for the biggest game of his career, as he is likely to feature in Halifax’s semi-final Challenge Cup clash against Super League high flyers St Helens.

The contest will be held at the University of Bolton Stadium, where the winners will be rewarded with a place at Wembley in the final.

The 23-year-old was signed by Huddersfield Giants back in May, where he will move to next year after penning a three-year deal with the Super League club. Butler currently plays part-time at Championship outfit Fax, but this move will allow him to dedicate himself to the sport full-time, something which will only help his progression even further.

After struggling to make his mark as a youngster, Butler almost turned his back on rugby league. It was at the age of 20 that he featured for Halifax’s reserves. After shining at that level, he soon progressed to their first team, where coach Richard Marshall described him as a ‘raw talent’.

Butler is fortunate to be from a strong family of Welsh sporting stars. His granddad is Welsh rugby league legend Colin Dixon, while his dad, Peter Butler, played football in the Premier League and Football League.

The Welshman’s team are big outsiders to win their semi-final tie as they have rugby league odds of 20/1. Halifax are no strangers to Challenge Cup glory, as they beat St Helens to lift the trophy in 1987, but that was when they were in the top flight along with the sport’s elite.

Halifax First Championship Club to Reach Semis Since 2006

With the help of Butler, who has been an integral part of the team, Halifax have had a magical run in the Challenge Cup this year. They started out in the fourth round, where they had a narrow 26-24 victory against Hunslet. The West Yorkshire club then upset the odds by beating Super League side London Broncos 24-16 at the Shay.

Fax had no issues in the sixth round as they ran out comfortable 34-6 winners against fellow Championship side Dewsbury Rams, while they reached the last four after a narrow 20-16 win against Bradford Bulls, who had put out Leeds Rhinos in the previous round.

The victory over Bradford helped Simon Grix’s side become the first Championship club since Hull Kingston Rovers in 2006 to advance to the semi-finals.

In St Helens, Halifax face a formidable opponent. Saints have won 19 of their 21 matches in the Super League this season and already have an eight-point advantage at the top of the standings. The Merseyside club are on course for the post-season, where they will be hoping to reach the Grand Final for the first time since 2014.

Whatever happens against St Helens, Butler’s future is bright in the game. He will already be looking forward to his Super League debut in 2020 for Huddersfield, while he is sure to be an integral part of the Wales team over the upcoming years at the international level.

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