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KINGSTONE PRESS LEAGUE ONE ROUND TWO – HEMEL STAGS VS KEIGHLEY COUGARS PREVIEW

Date: Sunday 12th April

Time: 2.30pm

Venue: Pennine Way Stadium, Hemel Hempstead

Both sides began the season with comfortable wins on Good Friday, so who will make it two from two as the Stags and Cougars meet for the very first time.

Last Time Out

Hemel dismantled local rivals London Skolars at the New River Stadium with Hunslet loanee Mo Agoro grabbing a brace on debut with Jamie O’Callaghan, James Helliwell, Derrell Olpherts and Alex Anthony also scoring for the Stags.

A flawless second half was the catalyst for victory as the Cougars defeated the troubled York City Knights at Cougar Park.

Despite trailing at the break, tries from Josh Lynam, Rikki Sheriffe and Scott Law saw Keighley run out 28-12 victors and keep the Knights pointless in the second half.

Team News

Troy Perkins will once again have Hunslet Hawks dual registration pair Mo Agoro and Nathan Darby available which will be a boost after they impressed last week at the Skolars.

James Woodburn-Hall however is a doubt for the Stags after sustaining a leg injury in the victory in North London.

The Cougars will be without Rikki Sheriffe who has been recalled by parent club Halifax as the Blue Sox are without bodies following an intense Easter period in which they were defeated by Bradford and scraped past Hunslet.

Daley Williams is in line for a second appearance of 2015 in place of Rikki and Paul March will also be without the Keighley star performer of 2015 to date Ash Lindsay after the veteran forward picked up a head injury last time out against York.

Key Battle

Both sides can boast impressive back lines and it should prove a cracker to watch in Hertfordshire this Sunday.

Keighley may be without Rikki Sheriffe but have a readymade replacement in long serving Jamaican international centre Daley Williams to go alongside Danny Lawton and the, when on form, freely scoring wing pair of Gavin Duffy and Paul White. Jesse Sheriffe at full back has made the very most of being handed the number 1 jersey.

Hemel have a very dangerous full back in Derrell Olpherts who uses the centre partnership in front of him of Michael Brown and Jamie O’Callaghan to his advantage. Alex Anthony and Hunslet loanee Mo Agoro add Paul March’s side more problems as they pose a real threat down the touchline.

What The Coaches Say

Hemel Stags Coach Troy Perkins: “Overall I was pretty happy but we know we’re going to have to be a lot better this week.

“Keighley are one of the teams predicted to win the league. I don’t know a lot about them because they haven’t been in our league before and I guess they don’t know a lot about us either. It’s going to be an interesting game. All we can do is try and improve on last week’s performance and make sure that we’re very difficult to beat at our home ground.”

Keighley Cougars Player-Coach Paul March: “Our completion rates were really high and we came home strong, I’m really pleased with how we defended but Sunday is a new challenge for us.

“This will be the first time we’ve played them so we’re going into the unknown really. I know David (March) and Gav Duffy both played against Hemel for Hunslet last year so I’ll be getting a bit of feedback from them. But I think Sunday’s more about what we do. If we prepare well and go there with the right attitude and get over that long, daunting trip, I’m sure we’ll come out victors.”

Prediction

It’s a first taste of a long trip south into the unknown for this Keighley outfit and Hemel will be buzzing with confidence after their thrashing of the Skolars last time out however, I feel the experience of the Cougars side will be enough in this one. – Keighley by 14.

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