Featherstone Rovers v Sheffield Eagles
Sunday 30th April 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 12
Stats over last 8 encounters
Featherstone Rovers welcome Sheffield Eagles to the LD Nutrition Stadium on Sunday.
The Rovers beat Sheffield 47-22 back in early March and they’ll be aiming for a repeat performance this weekend.
The Eagles seem to have turned a corner with four wins from their last five matches.
While the Dane Chisholm saga rumbles on, Mark Aston’s men need to keep their focus as they go up against a Featherstone side who look a good bet for the top four.
Last Time Out
Featherstone Rovers booked their place in the last 16 of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with a 30-4 victory over Oldham at the LD Nutrition Stadium.
The hosts were 10-0 up at the break thanks to tries from Josh Hardcastle and Richard Moore. Featherstone had to deal with a numerical disadvantage during the first period as Chris Ulugia was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 28th minute.
However, Jon Sharp’s men pulled through the first half unscathed although Scott Turner did score the opening try after the restart for Oldham.
Ian Hardman and James Lockwood both crossed the whitewash to give Featherstone a comfortable advantage heading into the final quarter, in which they scored two more tries.
Hardcastle completed his brace before John Davies touched down for the hosts, who face Halifax in the next round.
Sheffield Eagles carried on their good form by beating Dewsbury Rams 48-12 on Easter Monday.
The Eagles scored the opening three tries of the contest to go 16-0 up before Dewsbury hit back with two scores of their own, closing the gap to four points at the break.
Menzie Yere, Ben Blackmore and Garry Lo were the try-scorers for Sheffield while Aaron Brown and Brandon Douglas crossed for the Rams.
In the second half, the Eagles took control with 32 straight points to seal a comfortable win. Greg Burns and Sam Scott got the ball rolling for the hosts before Lo finished off a great team try.
Simon Brown kicked a penalty to extend his side’s lead before Lo scored his third and fourth tries as the winger moved to the top of the Championship try charts.
Featherstone Rovers captain Misi Taulapapa’s visa issues have been sorted and he played last weekend against Oldham in the Challenge Cup.
His experience is vital to the cause and the Samoan has utility value, having played on the wing and at full-back in his time at Sheffield.
Chris Ulugia, who played in the other centre slot against Oldham, is becoming a fans favourite at the LD Nutrition Stadium and it’s easy to see why.
The former Bradford Bull is a powerful customer and has scored eight tries in 11 league games this season.
It will be interesting to see how Taulapapa and Ulugia perform against an Eagles side who have shown what they’re capable of in recent weeks.
Jake Spedding’s one-month loan deal with Sheffield has ended and with no sign that the young St Helens centre is coming back to the club, there will be an opportunity for either Perry Whiteley or Eze Harper.
Whiteley has played in the centre and back-row for Sheffield this season, making seven appearances while Harper has started one game and came off the bench in another.
It is a big decision for coach Mark Aston, who will be happy with the way his side have performed over the past few weeks.
Menzie Yere has been a mainstay in the Eagles side for a long time and his partnership with fellow countryman Garry Lo is blossoming.
Lo is the top scorer in the Championship this season with 12 tries in 11 games while Yere has crossed the whitewash four times.