SO this is the countdown to the first big knockout game of the year….Saints v Leeds Rhinos.

In five days’ time one of the big guns’ Wembley dreams will be over with before the season has really got started.

At one time for a spell the clash between the reigning Champions and the Challenge Cup holders had a place on the rugby league calendar.

It had a string of off-the-beaten track venues to go with it; from the Isle of Man, Anfield, Vetch Field Swansea, Gateshead through to the Royal Showgrounds in Dublin.

The venue on Saturday is far more familiar with Saints tasting home comforts for this last 16 tie….and the prize far greater and getting even more precious by the year.

Saints have not won at Wembley since Daniel Anderson’s side triumphed in 2008 – a remarkably long time when you consider they have taken out the Super League title three times since then.

And Leeds were one of the biggest obstacles in blocking Saints’ route to Wembley in the past decade with the Rhinos winning the last three Challenge Cup meetings between the sides, including two semis.

It is a tie that conjures up some great games of the past – most memorably two classic Wembley finals in 1972 and 1978.

The sides have met 20 times in the Challenge Cup with Rhinos currently edging it 11-9.

Here is a quick list of those past Challenge Cup meet-ups.

2015. Leeds 24 St Helens 14 (Semi-final at Halliwell Jones, Warrington).

2014 Leeds 32 St Helens 12 (R5).

2010 Leeds 32 St Helens 28 (Semi-final at Huddersfield).

2009 Leeds 18 St Helens 22 (R4).

2008 Leeds 16 St Helens 26 (Semi-final at Huddersfield).

2004 St Helens 24 Leeds 14 (Round 5).

2003 Leeds 33 St Helens 26 (after extra-time) (Semi-final at Huddersfield).

2002 Leeds 16 St Helens 42 (Semi-final at JJB Stadium, Wigan).

2001 Leeds 22 St Helens 27 (Semi-final at JJB Stadium, Wigan).

2000 Leeds 26 St Helens 20 (Round 5).

1999 Leeds 24 St Helens 16. (Round 5).

1994 Leeds 20 St Helens 8 (Semi-final at Central Park, Wigan).

1992 Leeds 12 St Helens 32 (Round 2).

1983 Leeds 13 St Helens 23 (Round 2).

1978 Leeds 14 St Helens 12 (Final at Wembley Stadium).

1977 Leeds 7 St Helens 2 (Semi-final at Central Park, Wigan).

1972 Leeds 13 St Helens 16 (Final at Wembley Stadium).

1971 Leeds 4 St Helens 0 (Round 2).

1930 Leeds 5 St Helens 18 (Round 2).

1911 St Helens 6 Leeds 11 (Round 20.