"IT IS those sort of games that you live for."

So said outside back Jason Bass after York City Knights were drawn to face Betfred Super League giants Wigan Warriors in the third round of the Betfred Challenge Cup next week.

York have recorded away wins at Sheffield Eagles and London Broncos in order to ensure themselves a huge home tie against the 19-time Challenge Cup winners at the LNER Community Stadium.

The clash is one of only three to be selected for live streaming coverage by an external broadcaster, with The Sportsman showing the game on Friday, April 9 (7.45pm).

"I'm excited," said Bass. "We want to face the best teams and challenge ourselves against the top sides. To come up against a big team like Wigan, it's nothing but exciting.

"We're all focused towards Toulouse but we'll all be frothing at the bit for getting a place for the Wigan game.

"There's such a competitive position that we're all in when it comes to getting our slots, nobody's safe at the moment. I think in every game, we're all coming in with a lot of fire and tenacity to try and cement ourselves in that starting 13 or 17.

"This is the case week-in, week-out, so you've got to keep pushing yourself in training and on the field."

Bass has previously played against Super League opposition in the Challenge Cup when at former club Coventry Bears. They were beaten 90-0 by Widnes Vikings in 2018.

"We faced Widnes in the Challenge Cup one year and that was tough and a big change in level from League 1 to Super League," recalled the 24-year-old.

"The pace of the game was a massive step-up and it was tough.

"But it's those sort of games that you live for. They're exciting and you can challenge yourself against some of the very best players and that's why we do this really."

The aforementioned pace of the game has quickened up more broadly across the sport recently following the removal of scrums, which usually allowed players some rest in breaks of play.

Bass admits that is is now a more difficult challenge but says York's hard yards in fitness training across the winter is paying dividends.

"It is tough," he said. "It's a different game now, it's quicker, but that suits us, which is good. I think we worked on that a lot in pre-season, getting our fitness up to a level where we could stay with these teams on the six-again rule.

"Personally, I think this is the fittest that I've ever been.

"With no scrums, once the ball is out of play, you're immediately running to restart the game and you get 10 seconds off, whereas previously you might get a minute off every now and again, but now it's all go, go, go.

"We've been tested physically in pre-season by the coaching and S&C (strength and conditioning) staff but also mentally, we've done a lot of game-specific stuff, having to defend sets on the bounce and putting ourselves under that pressure.

"For a lot of us, we've had a year out and not playing for a year, it's strange just getting back into that, so trying to get game-ready, we've tried to do that as best as we can."