Super League Super 8s Round 2 Preview
Castleford Tigers vs Warrington Wolves
Round Two of the Super 8s opens with Castleford Tigers hosting a wounded Warrington Wolves at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Thursday night in front of the Sky cameras.
The Wolves are looking to address a run of two successive defeats which saw them dumped out of the Challenge Cup before Leeds rolled them over 49-10 in the first round of Super 8 games.
For Cas meanwhile, they head into this clash on the back of beating Hull FC 36-30 with Michael Shenton scoring an impressive four tries. The two clubs only met at the end of July with Warrington emerging convincing 44-6 victors so revenge will be on the cards for the Tigers.
Daryl Powell has made just the solitary change to his 19-man squad with Paul McShane making way for Michael Channing.
Warrington coach Tony Smith has already admitted the club are facing do-or-tie territory as the club sit in sixth position on 24 points – four points adrift of the top four. Smith welcomes back Ryan Atkins, Ben Harrison and Ben Westwood who has now served his two-match suspension for a high tackle on Luke Gale. There is no place for Anthony England who is unavailable for selection due to an elbow injury picked up last weekend.
On paper this should be a real battle between the two sides with the return of Westwood adding a bit of spice to the game. Add into the mix Chris Sandow, who will only get better the more time spent with his new team and this fixture isn’t to be missed.
Warrington by 12
Huddersfield Giants vs Catalans Dragons
Huddersfield will be looking to cement their top-four spot when Catalans Dragons make the trip to the John Smith’s Stadium.
A win for the side could see them close the gap on St Helens to just two points and the showdown has already been described as a “must-win” fixture by members of the Giants squad.
The Giants opened their Super 8s campaign with a 30-22 defeat at Wigan Warriors and face the prospect of going into this fixture in fifth providing Castleford beat Warrington on Thursday.
Paul Anderson makes one change from their opening defeat by bringing in Jodie Broughton at the expense of Chris Bailey.
For Catalans their chances of making the semi-final stages of the Super 8s hang in the balance but they did their pursuit of a top-four spot the world of good by beating St Helens 26-16 at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Laurent Frayssinous won’t be able to call on the services of Ben Pomeroy who is suspended for a grade B offence in their win over Saints. Ex-Whitehaven loanee Jordan Sigismeau is included in the 19-man squad and their also a return for star playmaker Todd Carney after his pectoral injury.
Huddersfield by 16
Leeds Rhinos vs Wigan Warriors
The standout game of this round is the table topping clash between Leeds Rhinos and second-placed Wigan Warriors at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
Leeds have won the last four games on the trot in all competitions with their last defeat coming ironically against Wigan when they were narrowly beaten 26-24 in the regular season.
Wigan have also won their last four games so both sides come into this crunch clash in a rich vein of form.
Coach Brian McDermott does have injury troubles ahead of the game with the news that Paul Aiton will be out for six weeks with a broken arm meaning Robbie Ward is included in the squad. Stevie Ward, who has missed the last five games with an ankle injury, also makes a comeback as does Mitch Achurch.
A win for Wigan won’t see them rise to the summit with Leeds having a far superior goal difference but it would see them draw level on point.
Shaun Wane makes just one change to his 19-man squad with Ryan Sutton coming in for try scoring sensation Joe Burgess who is expected to be fit next week.
Wigan Warriors by 8
St Helens vs Hull FC
St Helens will be looking to get back to winning ways and close the gap on Wigan Warriors when they face Hull FC at Langtree Park.
Losing their Challenge Cup Semi-final against Leeds Rhinos 24-14 Saints went onto lose their opening Super 8 game against Catalans in France but could jump above Wigan if they lose to Leeds.
For Hull FC every game is pretty much a must-win with the club sitting at the foot of the table six points behind Castleford in fourth. Like their opponents the Black and Whites are also on a run of back-to-back defeats losing to both Wigan and Castleford.
Keiron Cunningham makes one change to his squad with Olly Davies included with Kyle Amor missing out.
There are more pressing injury concerns for Lee Radford and Hull FC with Kirk Yeaman, Jack Logan, Richard Whiting, Steve Michaels and Chris Green all out through injury. Curtis Naughton, Brad Fash, Jack Downs and veteran Iafeta Paleaaesina all come into the side.
St Helens by 10
Published on July 28 2015 for Rugby AM.