Challenge Cup R5: North Wales Crusaders vs Sheffield Eagles Preview
Sheffield Eagles continue their Challenge Cup campaign away at North Wales Crusaders on Saturday, following victory in the last round against Hunslet Club Parkside.
After avoiding an upset against Parkside, the Eagles showed their quality in the league with a convincing 4-54 triumph over Workington Town at Derwent Park.
Although they’re playing lower league opposition for the second consecutive round in the Challenge Cup, Sheffield will know the dangers that North Wales possess. The Crusaders are in the fifth round on the back of victories against Leigh Miners Rangers, Swinton Lions and Hunslet.
Last Time Out
North Wales booked their spot in the fifth round with a 30-8 win over Hunslet at Caldy RFC in the Wirral.
Jordan Gibson notched a hat-trick while goal-kicker Brad Billsborough slotted over five conversions from as many attempts.
Gibson was first on the scoresheet, shortly followed by Billsborough’s opening conversion.
Ex-Eagles Jason Mossop and Jack Render both helped themselves to four-pointers - the only points that were scored by Hunslet in the game - either side of tries from Alex Eckley and Gibson for the hosts.
North Wales led 18-8 at the break and the score stayed the same until ten minutes from time when Callum Hazzard crossed the whitewash.
The final word went to Gibson and Billsborough, the former completing his hat-trick and the latter ending the day with an unblemished record from the tee.
Sheffield romped to a 50-point success over Workington Town in the Betfred Championship.
The Eagles were far from impressive against Parkside but whatever Mark Aston said to his troops in the week certainly had the desired effect.
Like Billsborough for the Crusaders against Hunslet, Izaac Farrell also had a 100% goal-kicking record as he successfully converted all nine tries.
Five of those nine came in the first half, starting with Joel Farrell powering over from close range.
Jason Bass, playing at full-back due to the absence of Josh Guzdek, added to the Eagles’ advantage before the returning Anthony Thackeray showcased his customary show-and-go to get over the line himself.
Ross Oakes jinked his way to four points prior to Izaac also touching down as he connected with a Thackeray chip. 0-30 at the halfway stage and the travelling Eagles fans weren’t quiet in showing their appreciation.
More of the same was to come, with Ben Jones-Bishop keeping low to the ground and planting the ball down for the first try of the second period.
Curtis Teare registered Workington’s only effort of the afternoon as the hour mark approached.
Mikey Wood, Matty Chrimes and Vila Halafihi made sure the Eagles got to the half-century, as the trio all touched down in the final quarter.
Key Battle - Callum Hazzard | Tyler Dickinson
Callum Hazzard is a former St Helens Academy product and the prop forward has been with North Wales Crusaders in two separate stints.
He was on loan from the Super League club before making the move permanent at the end of 2020.
Hazzard played at prop against Hunslet and also got on the scoresheet and he will be wanting to put in a similar performance against Championship opposition at the weekend.
It is a big year for Tyler Dickinson, who was announced as part of the Eagles’ Leadership Group during pre-season.
The reigning Player of the Year had a stormer against Workington Town, eating up the metres as well as showing a good offload game.
Dickinson and his fellow pack members will be aiming for another dominant display at the weekend, but the likes of Hazzard, Chris Barratt and Brad Brennan will be standing in their way.
Tickets and broadcast details
Tickets are available for Saturday’s fixture at Stadiwm Eirias, Colwyn Bay, from North Wales Crusaders’ ticketing website which can be found here.
The game will be shown live on the RFL’s Our League app. You can register here, or download on to iOS or Android devices.