Kingstone Press Championship 1 Match Previews (Sun 4 Aug)

Gateshead Thunder v North Wales Crusaders (3.00pm)

Gateshead Thunder coach Kevin Neighbour could name an unchanged squad for Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship One fixture with North Wales Crusaders.
Gateshead are aiming for a Welsh double, having won 36-30 at South Wales Scorpions last week.
Neighbour said: “That result is a massive boost for us. For long periods of the first half we were by far the better team, and we took our chances when they came.”
North Wales are aiming to respond to a rare defeat, having lost 28-10 at Oldham.
Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths said: “We were flat and we got what we deserved.
“The players know we’ve got to get a certain number of points in the next five games, but it’s still in our hands.”
On Gateshead, he added: “They’ve a few new players in their team since we last played them and they were pretty impressive against South Wales. We’ll be giving them plenty of respect.”
Stuart Reardon (ruptured Achilles tendon) is out for the rest of the season.

Hemel Stags v Oxford (3.00pm)

Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins insists Oxford’s 54-12 defeat at Rochdale Hornets is not an accurate reflection of Tony Benson’s side.
Perkins said: “They got beat pretty heavily, but they’re battling away to try to secure a play-off position.
“They’re going to come here ready to improve on last week’s performance.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Tony Benson and he’ll have them very well prepared. They’ll be targeting this game, but we’re also aiming for a top four position.”
Perkins will check on his squad’s fitness after Wednesday’s 28-18 win at Gloucestershire All Golds.
Oxford coach Benson has injury worries over Martin Roden (bicep), Danny Halliwell (broken nose), Jonny Leather (back) and Valu Bentley (ankle).
Benson said: “We need a response this week. What I’m looking for is just a bit of a reaction when things don’t go right.”

London Skolars v Oldham (3.00pm)

London Skolars could be unchanged for Sunday’s visit of Oldham as coach Joe Mbu aims to keep the pressure on the top three.
Hemel’s win on Wednesday saw them leapfrog the Skolars into third place, but Mbu is confident his side can finish the season well.
Mbu said: “We had a very positive first half against Gloucestershire (last week).
“We’ll have to be good again this week because Oldham are a very good side.
“They keep coming from minute one to minute 80, and that’s what we’ve got to do in response.
“We’ve got to turn up on the day and deliver what we need to.”
Mbu has also praised former Great Britain winger Gareth Raynor after he scored on his Skolars debut.
Mbu said: “A neutral person watching that game wouldn’t have spotted that it was his first game with the squad. He fitted in and did what he needed to do. There’s not much more that you can ask for.”
Oldham coach Scott Naylor is facing a couple of selection headaches as Richard Lepori and Jason Boults battle to be included in Sunday’s squad.
Naylor said: “I’ve got a fully-fit squad so once again I’ll have some tough decisions to make.”

Rochdale Hornets v South Wales Scorpions (3.00pm)

Chris Tyrer (groin) is Rochdale’s only absentee as the Hornets prepare to host South Wales Scorpions in Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship One fixture.
Hornets coach Ian Talbot said: “Other than Chris, we should be a pretty similar 17 to last week.
“You’d imagine South Wales will be wanting to right a few wrongs, but we’ve changed the focus this year on to what we’re doing, rather than worrying too much about the opposition.
“We just need to keep improving week on week. If we keep doing that, we’ll end up where we deserve to be.”
Connor Farrer and Andy Powell could both feature for South Wales, but David James (back) is unavailable for selection.
South Wales coach Dave Clark said: “The players know what the need to do.
“We had a disappointing July and we know that we should be higher in the table. We have the quality of players in the side.
“We made too many mistakes against Gateshead last week. If we can put that right against Rochdale then we’ll be in with a chance of taking all three points.”