by Patrick Moore
After storming through the midway point of the league season with an outstanding 22-5 win against Rossendale, Huddersfield RU will be in buoyant mood against Doncaster Phoenix in a joint league and cup match.
The Field drew Doncaster in the Yorkshire Cup after progressing through Sheffield in mid-October which was originally scheduled to be played in the New Year at Lockwood Park. But the two clubs came to an agreement to double up the matches by not wanting a fixture clog up and will play the league/cup match in Doncaster (Saturday pm).
Like a normal league match, whoever wins will take the points in the table, but that team will also progress to the next round of the cup.
Head coach Gareth Lewis, recalling the Rossendale win, believes that despite his sides current form, there is room for improvements in the clash.
“Following a very evenly matched first half the lads served up an outstanding second half in ruthless fashion. In forty minutes, they appeared to come of age in what was a pulsating Lockwood Park atmosphere and it was certainly one of the best I can remember. The home support was nothing short of immense.”
“However, we still have many areas to improve on and we must aspire to be better. Our scrummage has got to be more dominant and there will individual handling errors we must eradicate.”
Doncaster sit 11th in the National North Three and after a solid start to the season, haven’t won since 26-19 against Cleckheaton in October.
A 17-51 home defeat to Billingham was followed by another 28-41 loss at the hands of Hull last weekend, and after a winless November they are slowly slipping down the table.
They will, though, be looking for revenge as they lost 30-15 at Lockwood Park in the second game of the season and will take positives on the fact that the fifteen points scored that day is the most Huddersfield have conceded in a match all season.
“Doncaster Phoenix will be pretty disappointed with their league position at the moment, I’m sure many expected them to be nearer the top end,” said Lewis. “With this is mind, we must approach this game with a professional mentality and play with the pace and power shown last Saturday.”
Lewis has made three changes to his starting XV. Elliot Hodgson moves into inside centre due to Mark Pease picking up an injury in last weekend’s win, and Danny Grainger moves to wing.
Rueben Pollard comes in at loose head prop for Callum Thompson and Ben Hoyle drops to the bench for Ben Morrill. Tom Kanouras is also named on the bench.
15. Lewis Workman
14. Brandon Conway
13. Elliot Hodgson
12. Tom Owen
11. Danny Grainger
10. Chris Bell
9. Joel Hinchliffe
8. Adam Malthouse
7. Lewis Bradley
6. Ben Morrill
5. Austen Thompson
4. Nick Rhodes
3. Alex Battye (captain)
2. Fran Entressengle
1. Reuben Pollard
16. Callum Thompson
17. Ben Hoyle
18. Tom Kanouras