Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors


Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors do battle at the Mend-A-Host Jungle after both picked up wins at Magic Weekend.

The Tigers, who sit in seventh place in the table, pulled off a superb victory over the then Super League leaders Warrington Wolves – scoring 34 unanswered points in the process.

Cas did in fact find themselves 14-0 down after first-half tries from Stefan Ratchford, Kurt Gidley and Ben Currie but two tries before half-time from Luke Dorn and Grant Millington gave the Tigers only a 2 point deficit to overcome.

Their fightback continued into the second stanza with Denny Solomona (2), Mike McMeeken and a further try from Dorn rounding off a remarkable day in Newcastle for Daryl Powell’s men. The two points means Castleford arrive back on home soil with three consecutive wins to their name in all competitions.

Wigan had a similarly fine Magic Weekend victory beating Leeds Rhinos 40-8 in what was their fourth consecutive win over the club at the showpiece event. Wigan fell behind to a Kallum Watkins try when he burst through a gap to score in the corner but the Warriors soon hit back through with a Willie Isa brace for a 12-4 half-time score.

George Williams, Dom Manfredi, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart and Dan Sarginson all crossed in the second-half to run away with the game in a convincing victory which leaves them still in the hunt for the top spot.

Cas have suffered an injury blow with the news that Ben Roberts will need surgery and will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. The half-back returned to the squad after a seven-week layoff against Wire but on his return was seen limping to the sidelines before half-time.

Roberts, along with Nathan Massey, are replaced in two changes from last time out with Lee Jewitt and Will Maher staking a claim in the side.

Wigan have also been forced into a change with Sean O’Loughlin missing out with a thigh injury meaning Joe Bretherton takes his place in the 19.

The skipper joins Tony Clubb, Liam Farrell, Michael McIlorum and Anthony Gelling in the treatment room.

Castleford Tigers: Matt Cook, Ben Crooks, Luke Dorn, Paddy Flynn, Luke Gale, Ryan Hampshire, Lee Jewitt, Will Maher, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Junior Moors, Joel Monaghan, Larne Patrick, Gadwin Springer, Denny Solomona, Danny Tickle, Jake Webster.

Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Joe Bretherton, Greg Burke, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart, Willie Isa, Dom Manfredi, Lee Mossop, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Joel Tomkins, Sam Tomkins, George Williams.

Prediction: Wigan Warriors by 10

Published on May 26 2016 for Rugby AM.

Salford Red Devils vs Wakefield Wildcats


Wakefield Wildcats will be hoping to extend their winning run to five games when they travel to the AJ Bell Stadium to take on Salford Red Devils on Friday.

Jacob Miller’s outstanding 50 metre drop-goal sealed a dramatic win over the Catalans Dragons as the Wildcats continued their remarkable run of form by beating the French side 25-24 at Magic Weekend to climb upto sixth in the standings.

If Wakefield were to secure victory it would take their win tally to nine which would be treble their total for the 2015 regular campaign – highlighting the improvements they have made on the field.

10th-placed Salford Red Devils ended Widnes’ Magic Weekend run of three consecutive wins over the club by edging a narrow contest 18-12.

Daniel Vidot opened the scoring when he crossed as early as the fourth minute but that was soon cancelled out by Rhys Hanbury’s effort four minutes later. It took the sides until the 31st minute to again register points as Widnes furthered their lead through Chris Bridge who charged over after Joe Mellor’s flat pass.

The Red Devils began the second-half brightly and made their superiority pay dividends when Justin Carney crossed in the left-hand corner with Gareth O’Brien adding the extras. Vidot then grabbed his brace with twelve minutes remaining sealing the two points in the process.

Salford have made one enforced change which sees Justin Carney miss out after he submitted an early guilty plea after being charged with a Grade B dangerous throw meaning he misses one match. The 27-year-old has been an ever-present for the Red Devils but will serve his suspension with Niall Evalds returning to the fold.

Chris Chester has made two changes to his 19-man side with Reece Lyne returning from a torn hamstring and Anthony England who has served his suspension. The duo replace Stuart Howarth and Jordan Crowther in the Wildcats ranks.

Salford Red Devils: Jake Bibby, Michael Dobson, Niall Evalds, Mark Flanagan, George Griffin, Weller Hauraki, Josh Jones, Phil Joseph, Craig Kopczak, Olsi Krasniqi, Ryan Lannon, Rob Lui, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Gareth O’Brien, Junior Sa’u, Logan Tomkins, Daniel Vidot, Adam Walne, Jordan Walne.

Wakefield Wildcats: Scott Anderson, Chris Annakin, Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, Anthony England, Liam Finn, Craig Hall, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Max Jowitt, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Nick Scruton, Mickael Simon, Mikey Sio, Anthony Tupou, Bill Tupou.

Prediction: Wakefield Wildcats by 8

Published on May 27 2016 for Rugby AM.

Warrington Wolves vs Leeds Rhinos


Both Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos welcome back a quartet of players when the two sides meet at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night.

The Wolves have seen their injuries ease with the returns of Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins, Brad Dwyer, and half-back Chris Sandow.

The latter, who won Player of the Month awards for both February and March, is likely to be a major boost for the club who have struggled in his absence recording only two wins in the league.

The four returning players come back into the side with Jordan Cox, Joe Philbin, Matty Russell and Morgan Smith losing their spots in the 19-man squad.

Wire have the chance to head back to the top of the table after back-to-back defeats of which their last performance at Magic Weekend will have been most disappointing. After establishing a 14-0 lead against Castleford Tigers their opponents went onto score 34 unanswered points and claim the two points.

Their opponents Leeds Rhinos have also seen four players return to the fray with Rob Burrow and Brett Delaney fit again after short term injuries. Mitch Garbutt is also in contention to play along with Liam Sutcliffe who is available for selection after serving his suspension.

Last season’s treble winners sit two points adrift at the bottom of Super League and have now conceded the most points in the competition whilst scoring the least -highlighting the plight they are facing.

The club last time out succumbed to a 40-8 loss at the Magic Weekend with Wigan running out comfortable winners after tries from Willie Isa (2), George Williams, Dom Manfredi, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart and Dan Sarginson.

Warrington Wolves: Ryan Atkins, Ryan Bailey, Daryl Clark, Ben Currie, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Chris Hill, Benjamin Jullien, George King, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Gene Ormsby, Stefan Ratchford, Chris Sandow, Ashton Sims, Joe Westerman, Ben Westwood, Sam Wilde.

Leeds Rhinos: Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Keith Galloway, Adam Cuthbertson, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Liam Sutcliffe, Brett Delaney, Brad Singleton, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, Mitch Achurch, Josh Walters, Ash Handley, Ashton Golding, Jordan Lilley, Brett Ferres, Luke Briscoe.

Prediction: Warrington Wolves by 12

Published on May 27 2016 for Rugby AM.

Hull FC vs St Helens


Joint table-toppers Hull FC host St Helens at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday looking to extend their winning run to six.

The Black and Whites find themselves joined at the top by Wigan Warriors by virtue of them playing on Thursday night but the club rose to the summit having beaten their neighbours Hull Kingston Rovers 28-16 at St James’ Park.

The Airlie Birds came from 16-10 down in the second-half to earn their tenth win in 11 games in all competitions with Mahe Fonue scoring a brace in a man of the match display.

St Helens meanwhile saw their three gaming league sequence come to an end at Magic Weekend by Huddersfield Giants who ran out 48-20 victors.

After a scoreless 20 minutes the Giants scored three tries in the space of seven minutes through Jermaine McGillvary, Ukuma Ta’ai and Jamie Ellis with Matty Dawson in reply seeing the scores 16-6 at the break.

Saints’ misery continued into the second-half with McGillvary scoring his brace along with Sam Rapira, Aaron Murphy and Ryan Hinchcliffe. Jack Owens, Theo Fages and Adam Swift scored in response for St Helens but the damage was already done and the points headed to Yorkshire.

Lee Radford has been afforded the luxury of naming an unchanged squad from the one that took to the field at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle.

St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham has made two changes to his squad which sees Greg Richards and Joe Greenwood come back into the 19 replacing Andre Savelio and Shannon McDonnell.

St Helens will be aiming to exact revenge on Hull FC after the side knocked them out of the Challenge Cup 47-18 at Langtree Park just three weeks ago.

Hull FC: Josh Bowden, Gareth Ellis, Mahe Fonua, Chris Green, Danny Houghton, Sika Manu, Mark Minichiello, Curtis Naughton, Frank Pritchard, Leon Pryce, Jamie Shaul, Marc Sneyd, Fetuli Talanoa, Scott Taylor, Jordan Thompson, Carlos Tuimavave, Danny Washbrook, Liam Watts, Kirk Yeaman

St Helens: Jonny Lomax, Jordan Turner, Adam Swift, Luke Walsh, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Kyle Amor, Atelea Vea, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lama Tasi, Greg Richards, Theo Fages, Joe Greenwood, Matty Dawson, Jack Owens, Jack Ashworth, Morgan Knowles, Calvin Wellington

Prediction: Hull FC by 8

Published on May 27 2016 for Rugby AM.

Catalans Dragons vs Hull Kingston Rovers


Hull Kingston Rovers travel to the Stade Gilbert Brutus to take on Catalans Dragons having been forced to make five changes to their squad.

The Robins suffered another derby defeat to Hull FC at Magic Weekend losing 28-16 at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park Stadium.

A brace and a man of the match performance from Mahe Fonua along with tries from Jamie Shaul, Curtis Naughton and Mark Minichello ensured the two points went the Black and Whites way despite Hull KR leading 16-10 at one stage after scores from Shaun Lunt and Graeme Horne.

The club have opted not to risk Captain Terry Campese despite the half-back playing all 80 minutes against the Airlie Birds to ensure he has the best chance of finishing the season strongly. Thomas Minns, Ben Cockayne and Graeme Horne all miss the match through injury and forward Mitch Allgood is suspended after making deliberate contact with an official.

Replacing the five players are Kevin Larroyer, who is set to make his first appearance of the season after a shoulder injury picked up in pre-season. Frenchman John Boudebza also returns to the side along with Robbie Mulhern, Will Jubb and Joe Cator.

Catalans Dragons suffered defeat at Magic losing out 25-24 after Jacob Miller’s outstanding 50-metre drop-goal sealed the points for Wakefield Wildcats with defeat opening the gap for Hull FC to take top spot.

The French side arrive back on home soil keen to bounce back whilst also making it five wins on the spin at their home ground.

Laurent Frayssinous has made two changes from their loss on the road with former Hull KR forward Willie Mason and Alrix Da Costa replaced by Romain Navarrete and Fouad Yaha.

Catalans Dragons: Tony Gigot, Jodie Broughton, Vincent Duport, Pat Richards, Todd Carney, Louis Anderson, Remi Casty, Glenn Stewart, Justin Horo, Jason Baitieri, Dave Taylor, Julian Bousquet, Eloi Pelissier, Greg Mounis, Thomas Bosc, Fouad Yaha, Antoni Maria, Lucas Albert, Romain Navarrete

Hull Kingston Rovers: Maurice Blair, John Boudebza, Joe Cator, Chris Clarkson, James Donaldson, James Green, James Greenwood, Will Jubb, Albert Kelly, George Lawler, Kevin Larroyer, Shaun Lunt, Matty Marsh, Robbie Mulhern, Ken Sio, Iain Thornley, Dane Tilse, Adam Walker, Joe Wardill

Prediction: Catalans Dragons by 12

Published on May 27 2016 for Rugby AM.


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