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Hull Kingston Rovers vs Catalans Dragons

Shaun_Lunt_1

Catalans Dragons head to the KC Lightstream Stadium to take on Hull Kingston Rovers eager to continue their climb up the table.

The French club sit in fourth place level on points with Widnes Vikings and Hull FC and know a win could see them rise to second if results go in their favour. Laurent Frayssinous has addressed their away day showings winning three times on the road already this season beating their solitary victory in the regular season last year.

They arrive in East Yorkshire in a rich vein of form with four consecutive victories to their name over Huddersfield Giants, Salford Red Devils, Castleford Tigers and Widnes Vikings respectively.

Hoping to put a dent in their surge up the ladder is a Hull KR side buoyed by their 30-10 away win over reigning champions Leeds Rhinos. Two tries from the returning Shaun Lunt saw Rovers head into half-time 10-0 to the good before that lead was doubled with tries from Kieran Dixon and Ben Cockayne in the second forty.

Leeds responded through Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Carl Ablett to unease the Rovers support still reeling from their side’s Good Friday collapse against Hull FC. But there was no comeback for the Rhinos when Mitch Allgood and Robbie Mulhern both managed to crash over the line late on as the Robins held on for a memorable victory at Headingley.

Interim head coach James Webster was dealt another cruel injury blow with the news that skipper Terry Campese has been ruled out for six to eight weeks with a recurrence of a hamstring injury which he picked up in the early stages of their win last round. He, along with Joe Wardill have dropped out of their 19-man squad for tonight’s game with John Boudebza and Thomas Minns coming into contention following injuries.

Catalans meanwhile are without the influential Todd Carney and Paul Aiton who, due to injury, join Remi Casty and Justin Horo on the sidelines. Making a return following the completion of his suspension is Krisnan Inu along with young half-back Stan Robin.

Hull Kingston Rovers: Mitch Allgood, Maurice Blair, John Boudebza, Chris Clarkson, Ben Cockayne, Kieran Dixon, James Green, James Greenwood, Graeme Horne, George Lawler, Shaun Lunt, Matty Marsh, Thomas Minns, Kieran Moran, Robbie Mulhern, Ken Sio, Iain Thornley, Dane Tilse, Adam Walker

Catalans Dragons: Tony Gigot, Jodie Broughton, Krisnan Inu, Vincent Duport, Pat Richards, Richie Myler, Louis Anderson, Glenn Stewart, Jason Baitieri, Dave Taylor, Julian Bousquet, Eloi Pelissier, Greg Mounis, Thomas Bosc, Olivier Elima, Morgan Escare, Antoni Maria, Stan Robin, Willie Mason

Prediction: Hull Kingston Rovers by 4

Published on April 7 2016 for Rugby AM.

Warrington Wolves vs St Helens

Tony_Smith

Table-toppers Warrington Wolves will be without the services of half-back Chris Sandow when St Helens travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The former Parramatta scrum-half, who was crowned the first player to win back-to-back Player of the Month awards recently, has a torn hamstring and faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The news will be a blow to Warrington who bounced back at the first time of asking following their first defeat of the season against Hull FC by beating Wigan Warriors 28-16 at the DW Stadium. The away side held a commanding 22-4 advantage after first-half tries from Ben Currie, Tom Lineham, Kevin Penny and Stefan Ratchford.

Ryan Atkins added to the lead when he scored early in the second-half but Dom Manfredi’s hat-trick was in vain for Wigan as they lost out on the two points.

St Helens succumbed to their fourth defeat of the campaign losing out 17-16 at home to Hull FC. Marc Sneyd’s last gasp drop-goal saw Hull FC snatch all two points after an evenly fought contest but Lee Radford’s men had to come back from a 16-10 half-time deficit which they achieved when Kirk Yeaman crossed after superb work from Curtis Naughton.

Warrington boss Tony Smith makes two changes bringing in Benjamin Jullien and Declan Patton with Gene Ormsby, who has joined Huddersfield Giants on a one month loan, and Chris Sandow losing their places.

Keiron Cunningham has been forced into two changes with Joe Greenwood and Dominique Peyroux being unavailable due to injury with the duo replaced by Jack Ashworth and Jake Spedding.

Warrington Wolves: Ryan Atkins, Daryl Clark, Jordan Cox, Ben Currie, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Benjamin Jullien, George King, Tom Lineham, Declan Patton, Kevin Penny, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Russell, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood.

St Helens: Jordan Turner, Travis Burns, Luke Walsh, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Kyle Amor, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Greg Richards, Andre Savelio, Luke Thompson, Theo Fages, Matty Dawson, Jack Owens, Shannon McDonnell, Jack Ashworth, Morgan Knowles, Ricky Bailey, Jake Spedding.

Prediction: Warrington Wolves by 8

Published on April 8 2016 for Rugby AM.

Hull FC vs Huddersfield Giants

Jamie_Shaul

Hull FC are aiming to make it five straight wins when bottom of the table Huddersfield Giants head to the KC Stadium tonight.

The Black and Whites haven’t achieved five wins back-to-back in all competitions since the 2013 season when they gained victories over London Broncos, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Warrington Wolves, Hull Kingston Rovers and Lees Rhinos before losing to Catalans 30-6.

Now the club, who sit level on points in fifth with Widnes Vikings and Catalans, have the opportunity to repeat the feat after victories over Wakefield, Hull KR, Warrington and St Helens last round.

Huddersfield arrive in East Yorkshire with form at the opposite end of the spectrum to their opponents with four straight defeats to their name which has left the club languishing at the foot of Super League.

The club were again on the end of a narrow scoreline losing 38-34 against Castleford Tigers in round nine but in truth the game could have gone either way with the lead exchanging hands on a number of occasions.

Hull FC head coach Lee Radford has made three changes from their 17-16 win over Saints by bringing in Fetuli Talanoa, Jordan Thompson and Jansin Turgut. Both Gareth Ellis and Mark Minichiello are both not risked after picking up injuries in their win at Langtree Park whilst Danny Washbrook drops out but is close to full fitness.

New loan signing Gene Ormsby has come straight into Paul Anderson’s squad from Warrington Wolves after penning a one month deal. He, along with Nathan Mason come into the 19-man squad with both Jared Simpson and Kyle Wood losing their places.

Hull FC: Josh Bowden, Mahe Fonua, Chris Green, Dean Hadley, Danny Houghton, Sika Manu, Steve Michaels, Curtis Naughton, Feka Paleaaesina, Frank Pritchard, Jamie Shaul, Marc Sneyd, Fetuli Talanoa, Scott Taylor, Carlos Tuimavave, Jansin Turgut, Liam Watts, Kirk Yeaman

Huddersfield Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Joe Wardle, Aaron Murphy, Danny Brough, Eorl Crabtree, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Craig Huby, Michael Lawrence, Larne Patrick, Sam Rapira, Ukuma Ta’ai, Jake Connor, Josh Johnson, Kruise Leeming, Nathan Mason, Oliver Roberts, Ryan Brierley, Gene Ormsby

Prediction: Hull FC by 10

Published on April 9 2016 for Rugby AM.

Salford Red Devils vs Leeds Rhinos

Leeds_players

Leeds Rhinos travel to the AJ Bell Stadium to take on Salford Red Devils needing a victory to kick-start their campaign but are missing key players.

After three straight defeats against St Helens, Castleford Tigers and Hull Kingston Rovers last round the club sit in the bottom two and pressure is mounting on head coach Brian McDermott. Their last outing saw his side booed off the field when the Robins held a 10-0 half-time advantage and went onto win 30-10.

They come up against a Salford side who were stung by the resurgent Wakefield Wildcats losing 32-18 at Belle Vue last Saturday. A hat-trick from the impressive Tom Johnstone along with solo tries from Mickey Sio, Jacob Miller and Reece Lyne condemned the Red Devils to their sixth defeat of the season.

It would have been almost unthinkable at the start of the season to suggest the Rhinos would be second-bottom after nine games but that is the reality facing the club and result have to improve for the reigning champions.

Coming into this match Salford coach Ian Watson has been boosted by the surprise inclusion of captain Tommy Lee, who was set to be on the sidelines for four to six weeks with a knee injury but he replaces Carl Forster in the 19-man squad.

The Rhinos bring in a trio of youngsters, Ashton Golding, Jordan Lilley and Jordan Baldwinson who replace the injured Joel Moon (groin), Tom Briscoe (shoulder) and Jimmy Keinhorst (calf). Briscoe is thought to be the more serious of the injuries parties with scan results expected to be coming in the following days to assess the damage.

Prediction: Salford Red Devils by 8

Published on April 10 2016 for Rugby AM.

Widnes Vikings vs Castleford Tigers

Adam_Milner_and_Paul_McShane

Widnes Vikings will be hoping to cap off a fine week for the club which saw three key players commit their futures when they take on injury-hit Castleford Tigers today.

The Vikings continued securing their assets following up the contract extensions of Joe Mellor and Eamon O’Carroll at the end of March with the news that Chris Dean, Stefan Marsh and Rhys Hanbury have all extending their deals at the club.

Since their superb 18-12 victory over Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium, Widnes have stuttered in the league losing to Warrington Wolves, St Helens and Catalans Dragons which has coincided with the loss of Kevin Brown to injury.

But now the influential half-back is included in their 19-man squad set to make a return against the Tigers in one of four changes to Denis Betts’ squad. Elsewhere coming back into the side is Chris Bridge, Alex Gerrard and Lloyd White with Ed Chamberlain, Jay Chapelhow, Paddy Flynn and Charly Runciman dropping out.

Their opponents Castleford Tigers defined their injury troubles to beat Huddersfield Giants in round nine 38-34 and again this week head coach Daryl Powell knows his side must dig deep once again if they are to achieve the two points.

The club lost a trio of players to injuries with Ben Crooks out for up to a month with bruising to his kidneys. Prop forward Grant Millington has a thigh complaint and in-form winger Jy Hitchcox is suffering with a hand injury.

One a more positive note wingers Joel Monaghan and Denny Solomona do make their returns to the squad and are expected to slot straight into the starting team.

Widnes Vikings: Patrick Ah Van, Chris Bridge, Sam Brooks, Kevin Brown, Chris Dean, Gil Dudson, Alex Gerrard, Tom Gilmore, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Macgraff Leuluai, Manase Manuokafoa, Joe Mellor, Eamon O’Carroll, Setaimata Sa, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley

Castleford Tigers: Ryan Boyle, Matt Cook, Luke Gale, Keiran Gill, Conor Fitzsimmons, Ryan Hampshire, Tom Holmes, Lee Jewitt, Andy Lynch, Will Maher, Nathan Massey, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Adam Milner, Greg Minikin, Joel Monaghan, Denny Solomona, Gadwin Springer, Jake Webster

Prediction: Widnes Vikings by 12

Published on April 10 2016 for Rugby AM.

Wakefield Wildcats vs Wigan Warriors

Tom_Johnstone

Wakefield Wildcats face their toughest test under Chris Chester when Wigan Warriors travel to Belle Vue today.

The Wildcats are one of the form teams in Super League having registered victories over Huddersfield Giants, Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils. Their latter win saw the ever-improving Tom Johnstone bag a hat-trick adding to his rising stock with tries elsewhere for Jacob Miller, Mickey Sio and Reece Lyne as they beat the Red Devils 32-18.

Gunning for their fourth straight win Chris Chester has made two changes to his squad with Craig Hall and Jason Walton replaced by Stuart Howarth and Ashley Gibson with the centre making his return after two games out with a head injury.

Second-placed Wigan haven’t been at their clinical best this campaign and Shaun Wane will be eager to get back to their former selves. Their last outing saw them lose 28-16 on home soil against current table toppers Warrington Wolves.

John Bateman and youngster Jack Wells replace Sean O’Loughlin and Liam Farrell in their 19-man squad with Wane set to give at least one youngster a debut with Wells and Joe Bretherton named.

Wakefield Wildcats: Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, Anthony England, Liam Finn, Ashley Gibson, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Max Jowitt, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Jonny Molloy, Scott Moore, Nick Scruton, Mika Simon, Mikey Sio, Anthony Tupou, Stuart Howarth

Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Joe Bretherton, Greg Burke, Josh Charnley, Tony Clubb, Oliver Gildart, Nick Gregson, Jack Higginson, Willie Isa, Dom Manfredi, Lee Mossop, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Joel Tomkins, Jack Wells

Prediction: Wigan Warriors by 10

Published on April 10 2016 for Rugby AM.

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