Challenge Cup Preview

22nd March 2012

London Skolars Head Coach Joe Mbu is relishing this Saturday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup Third Round game against two times winners Leigh Centurions.

Skolars two games at home this season have seen two impressive performances. In the Northern Rail Cup, they led for most of the game against Halifax, only to victory snatched away from them in the last minute by the side from the Championship. Last Sunday saw them win by their biggest ever margin in the league with a 66-16 success over Crusaders.

“We need to focus on Saturday,” reflected Mbu. “Those two games have shown we can compete and win games. The performance against Halifax demonstrated that with hard work we can hold our own against teams from the division above. I’m sure Leigh will be looking forward to travelling down to the capital, and the long journey down will make no difference to them.

“But whilst we go into the game with a good performance last week, we also know that the Centurions are a strong team. In Rob Parker they’ve got a guy whose gone all the way to Wembley and won the cup. The side won the Northern Rail Cup last season, so the pressure of knock-out rugby is something they are used to. But the magic of the cup is that it’s a chance for clubs to test themselves against clubs that they don’t get to play in the league campaign.”

Leigh coach Paul Rowley is hoping time will prove a great healer after admitting his squad could not have played this fixture had it been scheduled for earlier this week.

Rowley said: “We’ve got a squad of 20, and on Tuesday we had five injured players. We couldn’t have fielded a team on Tuesday.”

“It’s tight week in, week out, and that’s why dual registrations are so important to us. We don’t have those players this week, but of the five that were injured on Tuesday, three are 50/50 for Sunday and two will probably come through OK.”

Ryan Brierley, Bob Beswick, James Taylor and Tommy Goulden are among the doubtful quintet.

Rowley added: “If you look at Skolars’ form, it’s pretty good, but we’ve got to go there confident and remember what we’re about.”

“We’ve got to take that confidence away from them and stamp our authority on them.”

He added  “Getting through to the fourth round of the Challenge Cup, where you’ve the possibility of facing a Super League club and testing yourself against the best, would certainly excite us.”

The game takes place this Saturday at New River Stadium, Wood Green with a 3pm kick-off.


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