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John Drake

Northern Rail Cup - Week 2

Which game are you most looking forward to?   20 members have voted

  1. 1. Which game are you most looking forward to?

    • Gateshead Thunder v North Wales Crusaders
      3
    • Gloucestershire All Golds v South Wales Scorpions
      2
    • London Skolars v Hemel Stags
      10
    • Oldham v Rochdale Hornets
      5

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52 posts in this topic

Discuss the games here (all Sun 10 March, KO 3pm)

Gateshead Thunder v North Wales Crusaders

Gloucestershire All Golds v South Wales Scorpions

London Skolars v Hemel Stags

Oldham v Rochdale Hornets

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I think there will be wins for Hornets, Crusaders, probably the Scorps (but they had a poor first game and so may lack a bit of confidence against the All Golds) and I would assume Skolars too but Stags are an unknown quantity so they (the Skolars) will not need to take anything for granted.

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It will make a change for Skolars being one of "the big boys". Surely they will beat Stags by a fair margin. It could be the start of a derby rivalry.

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PREVIEWS

Sunday March 10

Gateshead Thunder v North Wales Crusaders (3.00pm)

Gateshead Thunder coach Kevin Neighbour has warned his side they need to show massive improvement if they are to challenge North Wales Crusaders on Sunday.

Thunder lost 58-16 at Rochdale in last week’s opening Northern Rail Cup fixture.

Neighbour said: “We got exactly what we deserved. I’m not going to sugarcoat it or dress it up – they were better than us in every department.”

Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths insists his side will not get carried away, despite registering a 48-12 win over Oldham last week.

Griffiths said: “I’m very pleased, but we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground. Oldham had lots of ball and it was only resolute defence that kept them out.”

He added: “Gateshead this year are not Gateshead of last year. They’re packed with new players and they’ll be smarting from last year’s defeats.

“We anticipate a really tough game at Craven Park, but we’re going there with momentum and confidence and we know we can score tries from any area of the field, and that’s what other teams will have to combat. We can ask questions from anywhere.

“We’re not the finished article by any means – we’re only just over a year old – but the pre-season we’ve had has been fantastic and we were very clinical against Oldham.”

Lewys Weaver might miss Sunday’s game due to a hamstring picked up in training.

Gloucestershire All Golds v South Wales Scorpions (3.00pm)

Gloucestershire All Golds coach Brad Hepi will be without Jamie Crowther (broken hand) for four weeks following last week’s bruising introduction to the semi-professional ranks.

Hepi is hoping his squad can adapt to the challenges posed at this level ahead of Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup fixture with South Wales Scorpions.

Hepi said: “The guys have now had a taste of what it’s all about.

“Where they could get away with things in student rugby, this is a whole new ball game in terms of the quality of the players you’re up against.”

Scorpions coach Dave Clark has challenged his side to bounce back from last week’s 54-12 defeat by London Skolars.

Clark said: “That performance was unacceptable at all levels.

“The players know they need to put things right this week, and they’ll be extra determined to do just that.”

Haydn Peacock is set to miss the rest of the Northern Rail Cup campaign with an ankle injury.

Clark is set to give Nigerian-born prop Samir Tahraoui an opportunity to impress.

London Skolars v Hemel Stags (3.00pm)

London Skolars coach Joe Mbu has warned his squad not to underestimate Hemel Stags ahead of Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup fixture.

The Stags made a winning start to life in the semi-professional ranks, beating Gloucestershire All Golds 36-18 last week.

Mbu said: “They’ll be a decent outfit, they’ve got some London Broncos players, and I don’t think anyone should take them lightly.”

He added: “I was encouraged by our performance last week. We showed a lot of maturity and control.

“We could have easily started trying to overplay, but we stayed disciplined and executed things well. Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.”

Hemel stand-off Chris Stevenson faces a fitness test on a knee problem before Troy Perkins names his Stags squad.

However, James Howitt will definitely be unavailable for the next three weeks due to personal reasons.

Perkins said: “We’re under no illusions this week will give us a tougher test than last week. We’re playing against blokes with Super League experience, and others who’ve been in this league for a long time.

“Where we dominated physically last week, it might be more difficult for us on Sunday. We’ll have to aim up in the forwards if we’re to have a chance of winning the game.”

Oldham v Rochdale Hornets (3.00pm)

Oldham coach Scott Naylor will pick from full strength for Sunday’s mouthwatering Northern Rail Cup derby with Rochdale Hornets.

Naylor’s squad will be trying to recover from their 48-12 defeat against North Wales Crusaders last week, but Naylor insisted: “The score didn’t reflect the game. It made it look a lot worse than it was.

“We need to work on certain things and make sure we don’t switch off for 10 or 15 minute periods this week.”

Hornets coach Ian Talbot is also reporting a clean bill of health after last week’s 58-16 win over Gateshead Thunder.

Talbot said: “Oldham will have improved since we played them a few weeks ago. I expect them to be a much tougher proposition, especially at their home ground.

“It’s going to be as much about how we deal with the conditions as how we deal with the opposition.”

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Good away wins for the welsh clubs, and home wins for Oldham and skolars. How many in the play offs and is there promotion this year?

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This is the Northern Rail Cup: top club from each group through to knock out rounds with Championship clubs. Will also go throught to bowl final on cup final day. Presently Skolars and Crusaders in pole position

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Good away wins for the welsh clubs, and home wins for Oldham and skolars. How many in the play offs and is there promotion this year?

In this competition, the NRC Cup, the top team in each group join the 14 Championship clubs in the next round.

In Championship One, the champions get promoted plus the winners of the play-offs (which, according to the wikipedia article, involve 6 clubs).

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This is the Northern Rail Cup: top club from each group through to knock out rounds with Championship clubs. Will also go throught to bowl final on cup final day. Presently Skolars and Crusaders in pole position

yeah I knew that but I'm looking at it as a guide to form for the season. I reckon Oldham, cru and the skolars are looking as the best bet. I'm sticking a cheeky fiver on the cru I think!

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yeah I knew that but I'm looking at it as a guide to form for the season. I reckon Oldham, cru and the skolars are looking as the best bet. I'm sticking a cheeky fiver on the cru I think!

Crusaders definitely seem the team to beat for mine followed by Oldham and Rochdale. Skolars should be best of the rest but not sure whether they can consistently perform away from home. Based on what I saw today the Skolars pitch is a complete pudding and if anything worse than last year. It won't help their points difference as scores will be kept down while it is like running through treacle (and if the referees are as lenient on holding down as Mr Bloem was today).

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just out of curiosity, why aren't oxford playing in this years NRC?

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Relatively good attendance at Skolars (350), more derby games needed.

Very poor at Gloucedstershire 113 or thereabouts.

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Relatively good attendance at Skolars (350), more derby games needed.

Very poor at Gloucedstershire 113 or thereabouts.

I was one of them, got to give them time and see what the attendances average out at the end of the season, it was a bitter cold day and mothers day which won't have helped

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Very poor at Gloucedstershire 113 or thereabouts.

what were you expecting?? 500+?

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what were you expecting?? 500+?

Poor was what I was expecting. I don't think students pay to watch sport and I don't think many "townies" will go and watch a university side (even if technically most of the players aren't students).

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The game also clashed with an England RU game which would have taken all the casuals out of the equation. They had no chance of a decent crowd today. There were 20 plus from South Wales there too.

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The game also clashed with an England RU game which would have taken all the casuals out of the equation. They had no chance of a decent crowd today. There were 20 plus from South Wales there too.

Skolars got 350. Oldham vs Rochdale got 518.

I daresay all sides will get more than they did today later in the season but I think the All-Golds will struggle.

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just out of curiosity, why aren't oxford playing in this years NRC?

I think they just took the decision to sit the competition out, concentrating instead on the start of the league season proper. Probably helped the RFL out of a hole, fixture-wise.

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Skolars got 350. Oldham vs Rochdale got 518.

I daresay all sides will get more than they did today later in the season but I think the All-Golds will struggle.

After speaking to Lionel Hurst today before and after the game , i'm sure they won't ,give them a chance as they are only 2 games into the season and lessons been learnt as a new club and lets see what happens as the season unfolds. i certainly never envisaged when i moved down here in 97 that there would be a semi professional club within 40 mins drive of where i live.

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Why, what is he planning to do? Unless they change their

recruitment policy they will probably gain zero points this season. However, thet have to start somewhere and a young squad will improve over the years. Do people in the area even know semi pro rugby is being played in the town. I live in Bristol and teach is Gloucestershire and have seen very little coverage since the formation of the team was announced. Not having a go, just makibg genuine observation.

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Poor performance from the All Golds yesterday - afterwards Brad Hepi accused his players of playing "for 30 per cent of the time". They dropped far too much ball and were 22-0 down after half an hour, so they did well to rally in the final 20. In the previous game against Hemel they played well for about 20 minutes, too - if they're going to be competitive. they need to cut out the errors and sort out their defensive fragilities. The signs aren't good, but they will improve, I'm sure of it. Maybe not enough to challenge the top teams in the division, but enough to win a few games.

They could really do with a few experienced players, maybe a half to control the game a bit more, a hooker and one or two bigger forwards - they look quite 'small' and sometimes struggle to make yards. They also seem to want to push passes and offloads that aren't on.

The Scorpions did OK yesterday. Good halves and some decent backs - they ripped the All Golds apart round the ruck and out wide. They also used offloads well. Had they not conceded loads of penalties in the last 15-20 minutes, they could have got another 18-24 points I reckon.

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