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Country Cousins Come a Visiting
Posted by southstander on March 02 2006 - 17:05:19

Bumpkins in Town

It's time to lock up your daughters...as our country cousins hit Headingley for the first time in a couple of years.

After a year in the National League wilderness, Castleford Tigers are back in the big time...for now, at least. The Tigers bandwagon rolls into a Headingley which is dusting off the 'Ground Full' notices, to take on a Rhinos side looking for a big win.

This is a match which should see an easy Rhinos win, and Tony Smith has rested last weeks top performer Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

It's a somewhat different looking Rhinos outfit from the opening three fixtures. Ellis (injured), JJB (rested) and Nick Scruton (assumed dropped) are all missing, although Lee Smith is a welcome return after missing last weeks loss at Saints. Kirke, Ablett, Feather and Williams are all in the seventeen, so three of the four will definitely figure. I'd personally like to see Ian Kirke given a chance, he deserves it for a good pre-season and good performances in the senior academy.

The Tigers have a makeshift side, structured for Superleague survival, rather than challenging for any honours. The eighteen named by coach Matterson is made up of; Platt, Pryce, Shenton, Dyer, Blanch, Handforth, Kain, Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Haughey, Bird, Huby, Whitaker, Viane, McGoldrick, Boyle, Fletcher. Notably, disgraced Rhino Danny Ward has been omitted from the eighteen. There is no doubting the individual skill within the visitors ranks, but they have done little so far to show that they are destined for anything other than an immediate return to the lower divisions.

The last time that Castleford came to Headingley, they took a 64-12 hammering, having already lost by 46-14 six weeks earlier. The last Cas win at Headingley came in July 2002 when the visitors grabbed a 32-24 win. With just one win in their opening three games, the narrow six-pointer over Les Cats last weekend, the Tigers will not be looking forward to their journey across town.

The Tigers supporters will, however, be on a big high. This is their cup final, the one which they want to win. For many it is their only reason for existence and a victory at Headingley would send them back to the National Leagues satisfied in a job well done. It really is that bizarre.

Three Tigers to watch;


Danny
Nutley

Danny
Sculthorpe

Deon
Bird

This has to be a game where the Rhinos are favourites for a monster win. The bookies have the Rhinos as massive favourite, giving the Tigers a twenty-eight point start on the coupon. Anything other than a convincing Rhinos win, wven with a couple of players missing, would be a major shock.

I can't see anything other than a convincing Rhinos win, and I think that we'll even beat the handicap with plenty to spare. This should be the confidence boost that many players are looking for ahead of next week trip to Perpignan.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 48 06 Tigers

It is going to be a bitterly cold night according to the forcasterswith sub-zero temperatures on the cards. Just as I thought that it could not possibly get any colder than on the terrace at St. Helens last week, it seems that it will.

Get there early, get yourself a good spot, and watch the Rhinos procession of tries...fingers crossed!

There are just a few more hours to get your predictions in in the tipping competition.

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