Warrington Wolves vs St Helens
The Super 8s campaign gets underway with Challenge Cup finalists Warrington Wolves hosting in-form St Helens in what promises to be mouth-watering fixture.
The Wolves booked their place in the Wembley showpiece finale after a resounding 56-12 win over Wakefield Wildcats in last weekend’s semi-final and will be looking to continue their form heading into the Super 8s.
Wire had nine different try scorers in the ten try rout with stand-off Kurt Gidley notching 18 points in the triumph as they booked their 17th final appearance.
The clash sees two of the competitions form sides come head-to-head with Warrington winning the last four whilst St Helens have won their last five in succession.
Saints have beaten Hull Kingston Rovers, Wakefield Wildcats, Widnes Vikings, Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors in recent weeks – collecting maximum points from the month of July in the process.
Such form sees Saints tipped as the dark horses of the Super 8s especially after they convincingly swept aside Wigan 23-4 in the final round of the regular season.
Keiron Cunningham’s men recorded a 25-22 win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in April whilst Tony Smith returned the favour beating Saints 26-4 at Langtree Park.
This week Warrington star Ryan Atkins scooped the Super League Player of the Month award for July with his three tries against Salford and Huddersfield enough to beat Marc Sneyd, Jacob Miller, James Roby and George Williams to the award.
Warrington Wolves have made just one change to their victorious Semi-Final squad with forward Ryan Bailey being replaced by Kevin Penny.
Head coach Keiron Cunningham welcomes back Dominique Peyroux into the fold with the Frenchman in line for his first game since May.
Warrington Wolves: Kurt Gidley, Rhys Evans, Ryan Atkins, Matty Russell, Stefan Ratchford, Chris Sandow, Chris Hill, Daryl Clark, Ashton Sims, Ben Currie, Jack Hughes, Ben Westwood, Joe Westerman, Brad Dwyer, George King, Toby King, Joe Philbin, Declan Patton, Sam Wilde
St Helens: Jonny Lomax, Jordan Turner, Mark Percival, Adam Swift, Luke Walsh, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Kyle Amor, Atelea Vea, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lama Tasi, Greg Richards, Luke Thompson, Dominique Peyroux, Joe Greenwood, Jack Owens, Matty Fleming, Morgan Knowles
Prediction: Warrington Wolves by 10
Published on August 4 2016 for Rugby AM.
Hull FC vs Castleford Tigers
Current Super League leaders Hull FC get their Super 8s campaign underway against a Castleford Tigers team ravished by injuries.
Leading the chasing pack by a point, the Black and Whites come into this match on the back of reaching the Challenge Cup final – beating Wigan Warriors 16-12 at the Keepmoat Stadium in front of 10,488 spectators.
The Airlie Birds overturned a 6-2 half-time deficit with tries in the second-half from Steve Michaels and Fetuli Talanoa as Hull booked their place at Wembley despite a late Wigan fightback.
The victory was Hull’s third consecutive in all competitions but the club will want to guard against complacency after Castleford recorded a 31-24 win back in February at the KCOM Stadium which incidentally was their first loss of the season.
th in the regular season but have found their form hampered by a raft of injuries seeing them win two of their last seven in all competitions.
The club picked up two points in the final game week beating Wakefield Wildcats 46-20 at Belle Vue but this will be a much sterner test for the men from the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Whilst Cas have run teams close in recent weeks with their stretched squad it may be a good time to play Hull FC with them coming off the back of a physical encounter with Wigan and Cas having the extra week preparation time.
Lee Radford has named an unchanged squad from that one that beat Wigan in the Challenge Cup as he looks to carry the momentum his side has built up into the Super 8s.
Daryl Powell was afforded no such luxury and has been forced into two changes to an already injury depleted squad. Tom Holmes has seen his campaign cut short after being ruled out for the remainder after having shoulder surgery.
Paddy Flynn is the other party to make way in place of Luke Dorn and Lee Jewitt with the duo in contention after injuries.
Hull FC: Jamie Shaul, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Fetuli Talanoa, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Liam Watts, Gareth Ellis, Mark Minichiello, Jordan Abdull, Chris Green, Jordan Thompson, Steve Michaels, Sika Manu, Josh Bowden, Frank Pritchard, Kirk Yeaman, Danny Washbrook
Castleford Tigers: Rangi Chase, Matt Cook, Ben Crooks, Luke Dorn, Luke Gale, Ryan Hampshire, Oliver Holmes, Lee Jewitt, Will Maher, Frankie Mariano, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Greg Minikin, Junior Moors, Larne Patrick, Andre Savelio, Denny Solomona, Gadwin Springer
Prediction: Hull FC by 8
Published on August 5 2016 for Rugby AM.
Wigan Warriors vs Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors open their Super 8s campaign with a home clash against Wakefield Wildcats with both teams suffering Challenge Cup semi-final exits last weekend.
The Warriors turn their attentions back to the league competition after Hull FC dumped the club out of the Challenge Cup beating the Cherry and Whites 16-12 at the Keepmoat Stadium in front of 10,488 spectators.
The Airlie Birds overturned a 6-2 half-time deficit with tries in the second-half from Steve Michaels and Fetuli Talanoa enough as Hull booked their place at Wembley despite a late Wigan fightback.
Wakefield also suffered last four heartbreak after Warrington Wolves put in an impressive display to beat the team from Belle Vue 56-12 – with Wire having nine different try scorers in the ten try rout.
th final appearance.
When the two sides first came to blows earlier in the season it threw up the shock scorelines of the season as an injury-depleted Wigan were beaten 62-0. Wigan were to have their revenge when they met at the DW Stadium winning 22-18.
The Wildcats have seen their defence slip in recent weeks shipping in 102 points in their last two games and the club will feel they owe their fans a much-improved performance than last weekend.
Wigan come into this clash on the back of three straight defeats their worst sequence of the season and are staring down the barrel of four losses on the trot – something they haven’t suffered for a number of campaigns.
Wigan Warriors have both Josh Charnley and Frank-Paul Nuuausala at their disposal following the completion of their suspensions. The duo replace youngsters Joe Bretherton and Kyle Shelford in the 19-man squad.
The Wildcats meanwhile make three changes to the side that lost to Warrington with academy players Judah Mazive, Frazer Morris and Liam Senior all included in the 19-man squad.
The young trio replace Scott Anderson, who was forced to pull out last weekend, Danny Kirmond and Ben Jones-Bishop.
Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart, Willie Isa, Dom Manfredi, Lee Mossop, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Jake Shorrocks, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Sam Tomkins, George Williams
Wakefield Wildcats: Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Jordan Crowther, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Craig Hall, Max Jowitt, Reece Lyne, Judah Mazive, Jacob Miller, Scott Moore, Frazer Morris, Nick Scruton, Liam Senior, Mikey Sio, Anthony Tupou, Bill Tupou, Jason Walton, Andy Yates
Prediction: Wigan Warriors by 14