Sheffield Eagles v London Broncos
Sunday 2nd April 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 8
Stats over last 7 encounters
After winning their second game of the Championship season on Sunday against Swinton Lions, Sheffield Eagles go into this round eight tie against London Broncos with newfound confidence and belief.
Mark Aston’s men were in control at 28-6 up against the Lions but a late fightback from the hosts saw the deficit cut to four points by the end.
London beat Rochdale Hornets at Trailfinders in a rather ill-tempered affair which saw three sin-binnings and a few scuffles. The Broncos kept their nerve and their discipline to run out 28-8 winners following a great performance during the final 20 minutes.
Last Time Out
Sheffield Eagles picked up a timely win as they beat Swinton Lions 28-24 at Heywood Road. The Eagles had a comfortable advantage in the second half but nearly threw it all away as the Lions roared back to within a score of their opponents.
Mike Butt opened the scoring for Swinton after nine minutes prior to a Menzie Yere try and Simon Brown goal putting Sheffield in front. Garry Lo also touched down for Sheffield to make it 10-4 to the visitors before Jack Murphy replied for Swinton with the final score of the first half.
Consecutive tries from Matty James, Elliot Minchella and Sam Scott seemed to have put the game beyond doubt, especially as the latter’s four pointer was scored while Swinton had 12 men thanks to Anthony Bate’s sin-binning.
However, three tries without reply - including one from Bate who had returned to the action - set up a nervy finish. Sean Kenny and Chris Hankinson both crossed for the hosts but it wasn’t meant to be as Sheffield held on to a win which saw them move up the table to eighth.
London Broncos defeated Rochdale Hornets 28-8 to maintain their fourth-placed position in the Championship. Things didn’t start smoothly for London, though, as Hornets winger Rob Massam bagged a quick brace to give the visitors an 8-0 lead.
Api Pewhairangi got London on the board on 33 minutes but sin-binnings to Broncos outside back Elliot Kear and Rochdale forward Gary Middlehurst saw the half end on a sour note.
The visitors had the lead up until the final quarter, when London hit four tries without reply to win the game.
Daniel Harrison and Jarrod Sammut both touched down before Rochdale prop Jo Taira was sin-binned for a high tackle with seven minutes to go. With a numerical advantage, London capitalised in style with scores from ex-Bradford duo Adrian Purtell and Jay Pitts.
The absence of Dane Chisholm didn’t seem to affect Sheffield last weekend as they picked up two competition points against a current bottom half rival in Swinton.
Elliot Minchella and Simon Brown were paired up in the halves and you’d expect coach Mark Aston to stick with a winning formula even though the Eagles stumbled over the line.
Minchella is an accomplished back-rower but has also played in the halves for Sheffield in the past so his utility value is certainly being put to good use. Brown, in his first season back at the club, is getting into the swing of things once again and the conversions in the second half against the Lions proved vital.
London come to the Beaumont Legal Stadium with options galore in the halves. Jarrod Sammut was a bench option against Rochdale in round seven as Api Pewhairangi and William Barthau both started for the hosts.
Sammut came on and made a big impact with a try and three conversions, leading his side to another victory. Whether or not the tricky stand-off will start against Sheffield remains to be seen but he will always provide a threat.