PREVIEW: Sheffield Eagles v Whitehaven

The Eagles play Whitehaven on Saturday afternoon at the SHU Sports Park and Mark Aston’s men will be hoping to make amends following a close defeat to Leigh Centurions in round five. Whitehaven grabbed their first win of the season last Saturday when they got the better of Swinton Lions.

Last Time Out

Sheffield travelled to the Leigh Sports Village to take on a Centurions side who had suffered a turbulent week off the pitch due to the Ryan Brierley saga. The Eagles were 10-0 down in as many minutes thanks to tries from Dayne Weston and Adam Higson. Sheffield did reply in the minutes after Leigh’s second try as Rob Worrincy got the visitors on the scoresheet. An equalising try wasn’t forthcoming, however, due to the hosts extending their advantage through hooker Micky Higham. Eagles full-back Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Centurions’ utility Lewis Charnock swapped scores in the latter stages of the first half as Leigh went into half-time with a 22-10 lead. Reni Maitua made sure that lead was furthered in the opening moments of the second period but Sheffield, who needed a try badly, soon got their account rolling for the final 40 minutes when Menzie Yere powered over. On the hour mark, Leigh’s Gareth Hock and Sheffield’s Mitch Stringer were both sent to the sin-bin after having a bit of a scrap but neither side scored any points in their ten minute absence. Two Sheffield tries in quick succession flipped the game on its head as the scores were tied. Worrincy and Laulu-Togagae both recorded their second tries of the contest and the Eagles were sniffing for an unlikely victory. It just wasn’t to be for the South Yorkshire side though, as a Martyn Ridyard penalty goal was backed up by a Cory Paterson try to seal the deal for Leigh.

Whitehaven managed to get their first victory of the 2016 campaign as they beat Swinton 18-12 in a close battle up in Cumbria. The hosts went 12-0 up in the early minutes of the match as they sent out a statement of intent to their counterparts. Tries from John-Paul Brocklebank and Louis Jouffret helped Haven to a healthy advantage but Swinton did hit back before the half-time hooter as Shaun Robinson kept up his impressive start to the year with another try to add to his collection. Chris Atkin converted the score. It was important for the Lions to get the next try of the game, and that’s exactly what they did through Atkin who converted his own four pointer to level the game up. The 12-12 scoreline stayed the same until the last five minutes of the tie when Elliot Miller crossed for the winner. Brocklebank added the conversion from the touchline to add the icing to the top of the cake. A satisfying win for the Cumbrians, who will travel down to Sheffield in hope of overturning the full-timers.

Key Battle

 The full-backs of both sides have been starting to find a bit of form and that’s easy to see as Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Louis Jouffret got amongst the tries in round five. Laulu-Togagae has been a creative mainstay in a Sheffield side that has seen a fair bit of success in past years. The Samoan can set up, or score, a try in a split second so Whitehaven will have to be alert for when the trickster has the ball in his hands. Jouffret was part of the Haven side last year and he has recently signed back with the Cumbrians and is a welcome addition to the Recreation Ground side. With a fair amount of speed, as well as the ability to kick a conversion when called upon, the youngster will be looking to impress further as he starts to gain more Championship experience.



 It should be a good contest at the weekend between two sides who will be fighting for different things come the end of the regular season. Sheffield will be wanting to make their second Qualifiers appearance in as many years while it’s all about survival for Whitehaven this year – Sheffield by 16


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