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14th July 2017, 17:17 | championship

Kingstone Press Championship Round 22 Preview

Kingstone Press Championship Round 22 Preview

Featherstone Rovers secured their place in the Super 8s Qualifiers with a 14-32 victory away against Oldham last weekend.

Coach Jon Sharp said, “It was good to get last Sunday’s game out of the way against Oldham and get the job done, so to speak.

“We were able to hand Daniel Igbinedion a debut and he did well during the half an hour or so that he was out on the field.

“What is very pleasing, going into the Qualifers, is the shape of our squad. Pretty much every player is fit and raring to go – and they are fresh. We have been able to rotate the players really well, particularly with dual-registration players coming in, and that has kept energy levels high.”

Despite already securing their Qualifiers place, Sharp is aware that there’s still work to do in the remaining games of the regular season. He continued, “There are some huge games coming up, in the next ten weeks or so, though our remaining regular season matches are still of huge importance.

“We need to win on Sunday in order to nail down third place and keep the heat on London Broncos.

“It’s a massive game for Halifax on Sunday too, after a tough loss to Swinton Lions a few weeks ago which was obviously unexpected, they’ve really kicked on and have won some pivotal games.

“A win here for them might just be enough for them to join us in the Qualifiers so it’s a big game.

“These are some exciting times for our club and it is a privilege to be part of what is coming. It will be good to visit some big teams and welcome some big names to our ground too..

“We are aiming high and looking to improve on last year’s effort, which, despite, some close shaves, resulted in seven losses. We are good enough to match the teams in there and will go into every game with confidence.”

Halifax RLFC secured a vital 8-16 win against Toulouse Olympique in Round 21 and became only the second team to beat the French side at the Stade Ernest Argeles this season.

Coach Richard Marshall said, “We were really pleased to come away with the victory against Toulouse. We had to perform on a higher level than we’ve done over the past few weeks.

“They’re a strong team and I thought defensively we were very good, we forced numerous errors and were able to capitalise on those.

“It was an important game, it puts us in the frame now and we can build a little bit more momentum and confidence going in to this weekend.”

Looking ahead to the game against Featherstone, Marshall continued, “It’s another difficult game this week, we’re going to have to defend equally as well and probably attack a bit better and be a little bit smarter.

“We came up with some basic skill errors against Toulouse and we’ll have to tidy that up this week.

“Featherstone is a tough place to go and you have to be on top of your game to beat a team like them.

“They’ve had a great season so far and they’ve made the top four and I think they’re trying to go further ahead in the league in these last two games.

“For us, everyone is full aware of what is at stake, if we make the four it’s brilliant but if we don’t we’ve had a very good year anyway.

“The players deserve to play in that top four and deserve to play against the best teams in our competition and the lower Betfred Super League clubs.

“Momentum is the key for us and we’ve got that this year, so hopefully that will be enough.”

Across the rest of the Kingstone Press Championship, league leaders Hull Kingston Rovers welcome Toulouse Olympique, who will be looking for an important win to keep their Qualifers hopes alive.

London Broncos travel to face Rochdale Hornets and Swinton Lions take on Dewsbury Rams as both teams hope to avoid relegation.

Batley Bulldogs will be looking to build on their Heaven Woollen Derby win against Dewsbury last weekend when they welcome Bradford Bulls and Sheffield Eagles take on Oldham.

All fixtures will kick-off on Sunday, July 16 at 3.00pm.