Rugby League


3 Mar 2023

Betfred Championship Preview | Round Five

Betfred Championship Preview | Round Five

Toulouse Olympique will look to return to winning ways at the first time of asking when they host Whitehaven in the Betfred Championship on Saturday evening.

Sylvain Houles’ side had won their first three league fixtures prior to the 28-18 defeat at Bradford Bulls last time out, whilst Whitehaven have one win from four so far in 2023.

Elsewhere, Widnes Vikings will look to make it two wins in a row when they travel to Sheffield Eagles. John Kear’s Vikings produced one of their most memorable performances in recent years on Monday evening as they racked up 42 points against Halifax Panthers, and will be full of confidence heading into the match at Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have also started the season in good form, having won three of their opening four league fixtures. Last time out, Mark Aston’s troops secured a thrilling 21-20 away victory at London Broncos, as Anthony Thackeray’s late drop goal proved to be decisive. 

Over in Cumbria, Barrow Raiders will face off against Newcastle Thunder at the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium. Both sides have endured mixed starts to 2023, with the former still in search of their first league victory. Thunder also suffered a defeat in Round Four, after going down 56-6 at Featherstone.

Halifax Panthers will be looking to bounce back from the disappointing 42-14 loss at Widnes when they welcome Batley Bulldogs to the Shay.

The Panthers will be without star halfback Joe Keyes after the Ireland international failed a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) during the defeat at the DCBL Stadium, but top try scorer Lachlan Walmsley looks set to feature after he passed his HIA on the same evening.

Batley overcame a spirited Keighley Cougars outfit 28-23 last time out, so will naturally fancy their chances this weekend against Halifax.

Keighley will host London Broncos at Cougar Park, with both sides looking to return to winning ways following their respective defeats in Round Four, whilst Swinton Lions and York Knights will lock horns at Heywood Road.

Swinton have made a bright start to life in the Championship following their promotion last year but did lose at Whitehaven last time out, whilst York triumphed 28-14 against Barrow.

The tie of the round will take place on Monday evening when table toppers Featherstone Rovers welcome the high-flying Bradford Bulls to the Millennium Stadium. 

Rovers have made a blistering start to life under Sean Long, winning all of their opening four games, whilst the Bulls have lost just once, and have picked up impressive victories against both Toulouse and Widnes Vikings.

Round Five fixtures:

Saturday 4 March

  • Toulouse Olympique vs Whitehaven - 17:00

Sunday 5 March

  • Barrow Raiders vs Newcastle Thunder - 15:00
  • Halifax Panthers vs Batley Bulldogs - 15:00
  • Keighley Cougars vs London Broncos - 15:00
  • Sheffield Eagles vs Widnes Vikings - 15:00
  • Swinton Lions vs York Knights - 15:00

Monday 6 March

  • Featherstone Rovers vs Bradford Bulls - 19:45