The Betfred Super League hits round fourteen with six games spread over four days while the Championship fixtures are spread between Saturday and Sunday. In Championship One there is one game on Saturday when Doncaster Travel to play the London Skolars but the remaining fixtures are all on Sunday afternoon.
The two TV games on SKY see top placed St Helens face the Catalans Dragons who lifted themselves off bottom spot last week with their hard fought win over Hull FC. On Friday ‘May the Fourth be with you’ on Star Wars day as the Leeds Rhinos, in fifth, take on third placed Warrington Wolves at an ever changing Headingley Stadium.
Saints are solid favourites to go four points clear of the pack on Thursday night when they take on strugglers Catalans Dragons at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Justin Holbrook has brought James Roby and Adam Swift back into his line up to replace the suspended Matty Lees and Matty Costello. Steve McNamara has also made two changes to his winning side with Iain Thornley and Alrix Da Costa returning to the squad to replace injured David Mead and Mika Simon. Robert Hicks will take charge.
Leeds Rhinos can get within a point of the Warrington Wolves, with a game in hand, if they can take the points in Fridays SKY TV game. The Rhinos have named Nathan Peteru in the nineteen for the first time this season as he comes back from a bicep injury and also include Brad Dwyer (to face his previous employers) and Jack Walker, although both will face late fitness tests. Brett Delaney joins the Rhinos injury list which also includes Liam Sutcliffe and Mitch Garbutt. Warrington, slight underdogs with the bookies, make just one change as Mitch Brown replaced Morgan Smith in the squad. Ben Thaler is in the middle.
Also kicking off at 19:45 on Friday is the game between bottom of the table the Huddersfield Giants and a Widnes side who are themselves running out of time to make the top eight. Coach Thorman makes three changes to his side that lost to the Wolves last time out with Oliver Russell and Jake Wardle being in line to make their first team debuts. Matty English is also named in the nineteen man squad with Murphy, Roberts and Simpson all dropping out. Danny Brough is still out through suspension. Widnes are without Ed Chamberlain but do have Wellington Albert in the squad. The Giants are considered as slight favourites with the bookies to register their third win of the season.
Fridays final game is at the DW Stadium where the Salford Red Devils are in town to take on the Warriors. Shaun Wane’s side is bolstered by the return of Sam Tomkins, Ben Flower and John Bateman. Joe Burgess is missing through injury and Callum Field and Josh Ganson are also omitted from the squad. The Red Devils are massive underdogs going into the game but will welcome back club captain Weller Hauraki alongside two possible debutants in Levy Nzoungou and Gavin Bennion. They will be without the services of big names; Mark Flanagan, Lee Mossop, Josh Jones, Niall Evalds and Manu Vatuvei meaning it will be an uphill struggle.
On Saturday tea-time Hull FC are at home to the Castleford Tigers as both sides continue their quests for consistency. Hull FC are favourites for the win but will be without Albert Kelly and Jordan Abdull who both picked up injuries in the south of France last week. The better news is that Marc Sneyd has returned to health after missing out last week through illness and Jamie Shaul is also back in contention after a family bereavement. The Tigers will go into the game in the knowledge that they will be without the services of the pivotal Luke Gale who has a fractured knee cap which will force him out of the game for several months as they look to either cement, or regain fourth spot, depending on how rivals Leeds fare on Friday evening.
The final game of the round is the Sunday afternoon matchup between Wakefield Trinity and Hull KR as seventh hosts tenth. At the time of writing no squad details have been announced but it is thought that Hull KR may give a debut to on-loan Saints hooker Aaron Smith in the absence of Shaun Lunt. Wakefield are the favourites to pick up the points.
In the Championship, three of the top four sides are playing on Saturday afternoon with the game of the round looking as though it should be Featherstone Rovers trip to Toulouse for a 17:00 kick-off. Toronto are back in Canada for their first true home fixture of the season and will play Swinton Lions. The remaining games are all 15:00 kick offs on Sunday. London Broncos against Leigh Centurions is another mouth-watering prospect as a win of thirty points or more for the visitors would see them into the top four. A resurgent Sheffield Eagles take on Halifax, Dewsbury play Rochdale and Barrow Raiders entertain the Batley Bulldogs.
In Championship One you could be entertained by ;
15:00 – London Skolars v. Doncaster
14:00 – Hemel Stags v. Workington
15:00 – Bradford Bulls v. West Wales Raiders
15:00 – Hunslet v. York City Knights
15:00 – Keighley Cougars v. Coventry Bears
15:00 – Oldham v. Newcastle
15:00 – Whitehaven v. North Wales Crusaders
Wherever your rugby takes you this weekend, have a good one.