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St Helens vs Castleford Tigers

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St Helens can seal their place in the Super League Play-offs with a win tonight against Castleford Tigers at Langtree Park.

The omens don’t look good for tonight’s visitors with the Tigers seeking their first summer era away win against St Helens. Add into the mix their injury troubles and Daryl Powell’s troops face an uphill battle against a Saints side buoyed by their win over Hull FC last round.

Kieron Cunningham saw his troops beaten 25-0 at the DW Stadium against Wigan Warriors prior to the cup break, but the club bounced back against the recently crowned Challenge Cup winners Hull FC beating them 31-10 on home soil.

Castleford, despite a swelled treatment room, beat Wakefield Wildcats 46-22 with Denny Solomona bagging another hat-trick setting a new Super League record for try trebles in a single season. It was his sixth hat-trick of the campaign beating the record previously set in 2004 by Lesley Vainikolo.

Denny Solomana could be set to write his names in the Super League record books tonightneeding just two tries to surpass Vainikolo’s regular season try scoring record set in 2004 when he scored 36 times.

The winger is also three tries short of equalling the overall Super League record shared between Vainikolo and Danny Maguire in which they scored 38 tries each during the 2004 season.

Team News

Kieron Cunningham has welcomed both Luke Walsh and Luke Thompson to his 19-man squad following the completion of their two-match bans. The duo replace Shannon McDonnel and Oliver Davies as the club look to continue their momentum towards the end of the season.

Castleford Tigers’ injury situation remains bleak with Daryl Powell forced to cancel training this week having 13 first-team players unavailable for selection.

Their troubles appear to have no end with the news that Gadwin Springer’s season is over with a syndesmosis injury whilst Grant Millington is also potentially facing the same fate as the club await the results of a scan.

The Saints rejected Cas’ request to field on loan forward Andre Savelio so the Tigers have been forced to draft in Conor Fitzsimmons, Brandon Douglas and Luke Million from the under-19s academy.

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

Castleford Tigers: Rangi Chase, Matt Cook, Ben Crooks, Brandon Douglas, Luke Dorn, Conor Fitzsimmons, Paddy Flynn, Luke Gale, Ryan Hampshire, Oliver Holmes, Will Maher, Paul McShane, Luke Million, Adam Milner, Greg Minikin, Junior Moors, Larne Patrick, Denny Solomona, Jake Webster

Prediction: St Helens by 14

Published on September 8 2016 for Rugby AM.

Hull FC vs Wigan Warriors

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Hull FC return to the KCOM Stadium for the first time since their Challenge Cup triumph and will look to return to the top of the table when they face Wigan Warriors.

The Black and Whites dropped to second in the table after their Wembley exertions proved too great last round succumbing to a 31-10 loss at Langtree Park against St Helens.

Lee Radford opted to rest a number of his key players after their cup heroics choosing to give some of his fringe players a run out but they fell short against an in-form Saints.

After an even first-half the home side only held a 10-6 advantage after tries from Jack Owens and Matty Fleming but their superior fitness told in the second forty. Atelea Vea crossed for an unlikely second-half brace and Owens crossed four minutes from time to crown the victory.

Shaun Wane will have tasked his side with bouncing back after he saw his team lose 8-6 at home to Widnes Vikings in a shock result. Corey Thompson scoring a brace taking his try tally to 23 for the season with Liam Farrell in response for Wigan.

The Warriors will also have an added incentive to win this game after Hull recorded back-to-back victories over the club earlier this season.

A win for Hull could see them rise to the top once again but any such move would be dependent on the result between Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings. Whilst victory for Shane Wane’s troops would see them climb level on points with the Airlie Birds.

Team News

Lee Radford has welcomed back a plethora of his Wembley heroes ahead of their KCOM Stadium homecoming. Carlos Tuimavave, Marc Sneyd, Danny Houghton, Gareth Ellis and Mark Minichiello all return to the 19-man squad.

Losing their places are Bradford-bound Leon Pryce, Jordan Abdull, Feka Paleaaesina, Curtis Naughton and Jansin Turgut.

Today’s visitors to East Yorkshire, Wigan largely stick with the same squad that lost last round but do make one change which sees Jack Wells replacing Oliver Gildart.

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

Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Joe Bretherton, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Willie Isa, Frank Paul-Nuuausala, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Jake Shorrocks, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Lewis Tierney, Sam Tomkins, Jack Wells, George Williams

Prediction: Hull FC by 10

Published on September 9 2016 for Rugby AM.

Warrington Wolves vs Widnes Vikings

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Warrington Wolves vs Widnes Vikings Derby day reaches the Halliwell Jones Stadium as Warrington Wolves host Widnes Vikings in round five of the Super 8’s.

The Wolves have had the upper hand over their rivals this season winning both games in the league and knocking the Vikings out of the Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage in a closely-fought 20-18 win.

But both teams do come into this clash on the back of respective victories with Wire recording a 26-22 win over Catalans Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus bouncing back from the disappointment of losing the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

That said Warrington were made to work hard for their two points and the game wasn’t decided until the 77thminute when Ben Currie crossed to edge the away side ahead.

Widnes meanwhile, despite not being able to reach the Super League Play-offs, managed to overcome Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium. The Vikings narrowly edged an 8-6 scoreline with a Corey Thompson scoring a brace taking his try tally to 23 for the season.

Team News

Tony Smith has made three changes to his squad with Ryan Bailey, Rhys Evans and Kurt Gidley all recalled to the squad. Bailey was a late replacement during their win over Catalans and the forward has kept his place with Jordan Cox, Jack Johnson and Joe Westerman all losing their places.

Stefan Marsh will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury picked in last week’s victory over Wigan. The centre has been replaced by Patrick Ah Van in only one change to the Widnes 19-man squad.

Warrington Wolves: Ryan Atkins, Ryan Bailey, Ben Currie, Brad Dwyer, Rhys Evans, Kurt Gidley, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Benjamin Jullien, George King, Toby King, Declan Patton, Kevin Penny, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Russell, Ashton Sims, Morgan Smith, Sam Wilde

Widnes Vikings: Patrick Ah Van, Kevin Brown, Greg Burke, Jack Buchanan, Hep Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Chris Dean, Gil Dudson, Connor Farrell, Tom Gilmore, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Macgraff Leuluai, Joe Mellor, Charly Runciman, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley

Prediction: Warrington Wolves by 14

Published on September 9 2016 for Rugby AM.

Wakefield Wildcats vs Catalan Dragons

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Wakefield Wildcats vs Catalans Dragons Wakefield Wildcats head coach Chris Chester is determined to see his side end the season on a high starting with a home clash against Catalans Dragons.

The club have lost all of their Super 8s fixtures so far and sit bottom of the table, four points adrift of Widnes Vikings above them, but Chester is keen for his side to end the season well: “We’re lacking a bit of confidence, a little bit of belief maybe and losing becomes a habit.”

The Wildcats succumbed to a 46-22 loss away at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle to Castleford Tigers – their third defeat of the season against West Yorkshire rivals. Most worryingly for Chester has been their defence conceding a minimum of 38 points in their last six games in all competitions.

Catalans are hoping to add to Wakefield’s misery when they travel to Belle Vue, but the club have faltered since their opening victory in the Super 8s over Widnes Vikings. The club have lost three times on the bounce against St Helens, Hull FC and most recently Warrington Wolves.

The Dragons had at one stage been challenging for top spot but with various injuries to key players the club have slipped down the pecking order and now sit in fifth with their hopes of reaching the Play-offs almost over.

Team News

Chris Chester has made two changes to his 19-man squad ahead of this clash. Mikey Sio, who was a late call-up last time out, maintains his place in the team.

David Fifita, upon completion of his one-match suspension, comes back into the fold with the two players replacing Scott Moore and Jordan Crowther.

Moore suffered a season ending injury against Castleford on what was his 200th appearance in the British game, with the fear he has ruptured his shoulder.

Catalans Dragons head coach Laurent Frayssinous has made three changes to his ranks with the suspended Romain Navarrete dropping out along with Lucas Albert and Morgan Escare.

Coming into the mix are Jordan Sigismeau, Alrix Da Costa and Paul Seguier with the latter in line for his Super League debut.

Richie Myler is available for selection having submitted an early guilty plea to a Grade A charge of tripping in the 80th minute of their match against Warrington Wolves.

Wakefield Wildcats: Scott Anderson, Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Craig Hall, Ben Harrison, Tom Johnstone, Max Jowitt, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Jonnh Molloy, Nick Scruton, Mickael Simon, Michael Sio, Anthony Tupou, Bill Tupou, Andy Yates

Catalans Dragons: Tony Gigot, Jodie Broughton, Vincent Duport, Richie Myler, Louis Anderson, Paul Aiton, Remi Casty, Glenn Stewart, Justin Horo, Jason Baitieri, Julian Bousquet, Eloi Pelissier, Greg Mounis, Olivier Elima, Fouad Yaha, Jordan Sigismeau, Alrix Da Costa, Ben Garcia, Paul Seguier

Prediction: Wakefield Wildcats by 8

Published on September 9 2016 for Rugby AM.

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