Huddersfield Giants will hand Sam Rapira his debut when they face local neighbours Halifax RLFC this Sunday.
Rapira is one of two new signings at the John Smith’s Stadium for 2016 and he will get his first taste of action as a Giants player at The Shay against the ambitious Championship club.
Paul Anderson has opted to select the former New Zealand international after a prolonged period without first-team action.
“Sam Rapira will play, he will get minutes purely because he hasn’t played for a while and so we are going to throw him out there,” Anderson told the club’s official website.
“He has been very good physically since he has arrived here and so we have spoken to him about putting him out there and giving him some time on the pitch.”
“Sam has had some time invested in him from a medical and physical point of view and hopefully we can reap the rewards because he is looking in good shape.
“He is a very professional player as you would expect from a player who has got all the caps and has played in all the Grand Finals that he has, he has been very good and he is benefitting from the things that we do here.”
A number of Halifax-born players are also in the side, with Jake Connor, Kruise Leeming, Oliver Roberts and Tyler Dickinson named for Huddersfield’s opening pre-season fixture, the latter of whom spent a short time on loan at Halifax last year.
TotalRL also understands that Macauley Hallett will feature for the Giants having been on trial there. The 20-year-old outside-back has played Super League for Hull KR but spent last year on dual-registration.
Huddersfield’s full squad for the match remains unclear, however Anderson insists that he is taking a team to The Shay to win.
“Absolutely we are looking to win. We are looking for the performance first and to see some of the things we practise in training and getting some combinations going, we have an exciting standard of young players coming through and they know what is expected of them, we want to see them go out there and put it together now.”
GIANTS SQUAD: Kruise Leeming, Sam Rapira, Josh Johnson, Liam Johnson, Oli Roberts, Mikey Wood, Tyler Dickinson, Jared Simpson, Macauley Hallett, Darnell McIntosh, Sam Wood, Harry Woollard, Jake Connor, Izaac Farrell, Nathan Mason, Billy Hayes, Matty English, Jack Etchells, Jon-Luke Kirby
Meanwhile, Halifax have named their strongest available squad for the match, although the likes of Simon Grix, Miles Greenwood and Steve Tyrer all miss out through injury.
— Halifax RLFC (@Halifax_RLFC) January 8, 2016
Included in the squad is Jacob Fairbank, who joined Halifax from Huddersfield on a permanent basis last season.
Will Sharp and Sam Smeaton will make their debuts after moving to Fax from Featherstone and Sheffield respectively while local lad Chester Butler will also make his debut after recent signing professional terms with the club. Butler played with Giants hooker Leeming at amateur level for Siddal and Halifax-based school Brooksbank.
“I’m happy to get this game on,” said Halifax head coach Richard Marshall.
“I want us to play. It’s a pre-season friendly and we’re playing everyone who is fit at the moment. Whether it is our strongest team we’re not too sure, but everybody who is available will play.”