6th April 2019, 09:25
Match Preview - Wolfpack vs Eagles
The Eagles travel to the capital to face Toronto Wolfpack at London Skolars’ New River Stadium.
In a battle between two teams who have started the Championship season in good form, it will be an interesting 80-minutes as the Eagles aim to bounce back from their Challenge Cup exit.
Meanwhile, Toronto didn’t play in the Challenge Cup but their last game saw the Canadian outfit breeze past Halifax.
Last Time Out
Toronto beat Halifax 48-12 at the MBi Shay, with Andrew Dixon starring thanks to a hat-trick of tries.
It was Halifax who broke the deadlock with three consecutive penalty goals to go 6-0 up but Toronto’s response was strong, courtesy of four tries and three conversions.
Jon Wilkin, Dixon, Blake Wallace and Marty Russell all got on the scoresheet for the visitors, with Gareth O’Brien on hand to kick three goals.
Dixon and Wallace notched further tries after the restart before ex-Fax outside-back Nick Rawsthorne added more salt into the wound of his former side.
Dixon and Russell completed their hat-trick and brace respectively before the final say in the contest went to Halifax’s Ed Barber.
The Eagles were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Leigh Centurions at the Olympic Legacy Park.
It was a disappointing exit for the South Yorkshire club, dumped out 34-12 by a Leigh team who were solid in defence and powerful in attack.
Gregg McNally opened the scoring for the visitors after three minutes but Ryan Millar levelled matters later in the half with a converted try of his own.
Two Leigh tries in the final ten minutes of the half put Sheffield on the back foot going into the second period.
Toby Adamson and Mitch Cox both got over the whitewash, with Martyn Ridyard adding the conversions.
The first try of the second stanza went to the Eagles, and Oliver Davies who poached a Patch Walker kick to score. The latter converted.
Tries either side of the hour mark from Nick Gregson and Jonny Pownall put the game to bed.
Adding insult to injury, Sam Brooks steamed over for the final try of the contest on 66 minutes.
On a slim pitch like New River, the battle of the forward packs will be massive in deciding the end result.
Toronto are renowned for their physique, both in the pack and the outside backs, while Sheffield have surprised many pundits with how well they’ve started the year.
Matt James will be looking to put in a typical captain’s performance in the capital, while the likes of the in-form Joel Farrell and Oliver Davies will be integral in the back-row.
Big French forward Gadwin Springer was an eye-catching pickup for the Wolfpack in the off-season.
Fellow front-rowers Adam Sidlow, Darcy Lussick and Anthony Mullally will all give Sheffield headaches in the forwards and it’ll be a challenge for the part-timers to keep the Wolfpack forwards from rolling forward.
There’ll be plenty of interesting individual battles in the Skolars’ backyard but the forward pack is where this game will more than likely be won and lost.
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman