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Match Preview - London Broncos (H)

30/04/2021

After tasting defeat to Newcastle Thunder last weekend, Sheffield Eagles will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when London Broncos visit the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday.

The Eagles went down 24-16 to the newly promoted side at Kingston Park.

London picked up their first win of the season in round three, beating Oldham 38-24 at The Rock.

Last Time Out

Sheffield suffered their first loss of the league season as Newcastle came out worthy winners in a close contest.

Two scores - 24-16 - separated the sides by the end of the contest, with Ukuma Ta’ai wrapping the game up for Thunder after the Eagles chanced their arm with an expansive first-tackle play deep in their own half.

Mark Aston’s men led 6-12 at the break, despite Jack Johnson giving Newcastle an early lead.

Joel Farrell and James Glover answered back for the visitors. Izaac Farrell converted both scores.

The game was turned on its head by two consecutive Newcastle tries, courtesy of Cole Oakley and Jay Chapelhow.

Jack Render got the Eagles back to within two points of their opponents before Farrell’s conversion attempt hit the woodwork.

Ta’ai sealed the win for Eamon O’Carroll’s side with a couple of minutes left on the clock.

London got their first competition points of 2021 with a 34-24 win over Oldham on home turf.

Tuoyo Egodo notched a hat-trick while maverick half-back Jarrod Sammut also helped himself to a brace.

The Broncos led 18-6 at the break after tries from Egodo, Sammut and Dan Hindmarsh. Oldham’s lone first half effort came from Luke Nelmes.

Quick-fire tries from Egodo and Sammut in the second half started to take the game away from Oldham, who did respond with three tries in the final quarter.

Jack Bibby, Danny Langtree and David Hewitt all crossed for the visitors before Josh Walters had the final word on proceedings for London.

He scored with moments to spare as London got on the Championship board.

Key Battle

Greg Burns and James Davey have been the Eagles hookers for the past few weeks, with the former starting and the latter coming off the bench.

Burns has progressed into a steady Championship dummy-half in recent years with more game-time given to him by Director of Rugby Mark Aston.

A solid defender, Burns gets through a lot of work and is an unsung hero within the Eagles ranks.

Davey’s contribution is one of a live-wire, coming off the bench and exposing tired defenders around the ruck area.

Although Saturday’s opposition are a full-time outfit, the trademark Davey scoots could be key as he gets the team downfield and into Broncos territory.

London’s dummy-halves include ex-Eagle Matty Fozard and Sam Davis.

It will be Fozard’s first game against the Eagles since leaving after the 2018 season and he would have certainly received a warm welcome from the fans at the Keepmoat.

A consistent performer, Fozard took to Super League like a duck to water as his contribution almost helped London stay in the top flight.

He did sign for Ottawa Aces this year but as they are not playing in League 1 this season, he made a swift return to London and Championship rugby.

Davis came off the bench against Oldham and he may play alongside Fozard at times during the game, considering the latter can play at loose forward.

Davis is a Broncos Academy graduate and also made his Super League debut for the club in 2019.

If the London forwards get a head of steam, expect either Fozard or Davis to make the most of it coming out of dummy-half.

How to watch and keep updated

The game will be live-streamed on Our League and you can purchase it for £4.95 as an early-bird price or £10 on the day.

The Eagles are taking part in a four-day social media boycott, so there will be no updates on Facebook or Twitter.

A live blog will be set up on this website which will give frequent updates and there will be a match report published shortly after full-time.

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman