Super League: St Helens vs Castleford & Wigan vs Leeds previews

St Helens skipper James Roby will make his 500th career appearance

The Betfred Super League action continues at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday with the top two teams in action.

Hosts’ St Helens take on Castleford Tigers in what will be a special match for Saints skipper James Roby, while Leeds will look to bounce back from last weekend’s hiding by the defending champions when they take on current league leaders Wigan.

Roby reaches milestone

A tryscoring Roby in action for Saints during his debut season in 2004

A tryscoring Roby in action for Saints during his debut season in 2004

James Roby will make his 500th career appearance on Sunday, the latest landmark in an incredible career.

Roby debuted for St Helens as an 18-year-old against Widnes in 2004 and has developed into one of the best hookers in the world, winning three Super League titles, three Challenge Cups, one World Club Challenge and the 2007 Man of Steel, as well as being capped at Test level by Great Britain and England.

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St Helens head into Sunday’s game on the back of a 48-0 demolition of Leeds, where Regan Grace scored an incredible hat-trick

St Helens head into Sunday’s game on the back of a 48-0 demolition of Leeds, where Regan Grace scored an incredible hat-trick

A workhorse in defence, Roby continues to rack up plenty of metres in attack with those trademark snipes from dummy half.

With his groin problems behind him, he has hit the ground running since the Super League season resumed as Saints chase back to back titles for the first time in 20 years.

St Helens vs Castleford Tigers

August 16, 2020, 4:00pm

Live on

“I’ve been able to watch him from afar for a number of years, and we all know he’s a terrific competitor and a terrific player,” said St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf.

“He’s just one of those blokes who turns up and gives you the same performance every single week and at every level of game he plays at as well. He’s exceptional to deal with in terms of how he prepares and presents himself every week, how he competes every week, as well as what we see in terms of skillset and how he performs.

24:39
Fresh from what’s been described as ‘the greatest hat-trick ever’, Welsh international Grace discusses his career and the latest Super League news

Fresh from what’s been described as ‘the greatest hat-trick ever’, Welsh international Grace discusses his career and the latest Super League news

“The biggest compliment I can give him is me coming to a club with a really good history of success, and on top of that when you come into a new group of players, there is no ego whatsoever.

“You’ve got a group of blokes who want to work hard, do the right thing, have no ego or carry-over, and that’s all on the back of your leader – and our leader is James Roby.

“He sets that example and everyone follows, and he does an exceptional job.”

New faces for Castleford

Gareth O'Brien will spend the rest of the season with Castleford

Gareth O’Brien will spend the rest of the season with Castleford

Castleford could hand a debut to full-back Gareth O’Brien, who joined on loan from Toronto in midweek.

Winger Sosaia Feki is also set to make his long-awaited bow for the Tigers, having been dogged by injury since joining from Cronulla last November.

4:46
Castleford failed to build on a brilliant start when they lost to Catalans last weekend

Castleford failed to build on a brilliant start when they lost to Catalans last weekend

Liam Watts is in line to return, having missed the defeat to Catalans after injuring his arm in a sawing accident at home, while Nathan Massey is also available after pulling out late last week to be with his wife for the birth of their baby boy.

Mark Percival is named in Saints’ 21-man squad, having missed the win over Leeds with a tight hamstring, while Jack Ashworth comes in for Dominique Peyroux.

St Helens squad: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Kevin Naiqama, 4, Mark Percival, 5 Regan Grace, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Theo Fages, 8 Alex Walmsley, 9, James Roby, 11 Zeb Taia, 13 LMS, 14 Morgan Knowles, 15 Matty Lees, 16 Kyle Amor, 17 Jack Ashworth, 19 Aaron Smith, 20 James Bentley, 22 Jack Welsby, 23 Joe Batchelor, 27 Lewis Dodd, 32 James Graham.

Castleford Tigers squad: 2 Derrell Olpherts, 4 Michael Shenton, 5 Sosaia Feki, 6 Jake Trueman, 7 Danny Richardson, 8 Liam Watts, 9 Paul McShane, 10 Grant Millington, 11 Oliver Holmes, 12 Mike McMeeken, 13 Adam Milner, 14 Nathan Massey, 15 Jesse Sene-Lefao, 16 George Griffin, 17 Alex Foster, 20 Junior Moors, 21 James Clare, 22 Jacques O’Neill, 24 Tyla Hepi, 26 Calum Turner, 34 Gareth O’Brien.

Rhinos seek response

Luke Gale says Leeds want to right the wrongs of last weekend's drubbing

Luke Gale says Leeds want to right the wrongs of last weekend’s drubbing

There has been plenty of soul-searching in the Leeds camp this weekend following their whitewashing by St Helens.

The Rhinos failed to contain a powerful Saints pack while their attack, which had scored 24 tries in their previous four matches, was completely rudderless.

Luke Gale struggled in the absence of half-back partner Rob Lui but hopes to make amends in his first Leeds-Wigan match.

Wigan Warriors vs Leeds Rhinos

August 16, 2020, 6:30pm

Live on

“The boys want to right some wrongs from last week, it wasn’t good enough and we want to bounce straight back,” wrote Gale in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“Playing our game you are always going to get losses; we will probably have more losses this season, but I think it was the manner of the loss against St Helens that was the most disappointing thing and we want to put that behind us and move forward.

“The only way to do that is to go out and play well against Wigan and hopefully get the two points.

“What a great test that is – it will be the first Leeds-Wigan game I have played in, but they are always big and it is a chance for us to prove we aren’t the team you saw last week.”

Warriors show support for Burrow

Wigan will wear special embroidered shirts on Sunday in support of Leeds legend Rob Burrow.

Every player has chosen a word to describe Burrow, which will be stitched alongside their name. The shirts will then be auctioned off with all proceeds donated to the Rob Burrow Fund.

Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin, who played alongside Burrow at international level, said: “Rob’s a pretty special character in the sport – whether you know him or not – he’s small in stature but big in personality and was always big in performances throughout his career.

“He’s a symbolic figure in the Super League era and for the boys to get a word on the shirt that they see Rob is a nice touch and a good way to show our support.”

Fitness boost for Rhinos

Konrad Hurrell is back for Leeds

Konrad Hurrell is back for Leeds

Leeds are boosted by the return of Konrad Hurrell, Rob Lui and Liam Sutcliffe from injury while new signing Bodene Thompson could make his debut.

Alex Sutcliffe is also available after Leeds’ match was pushed back 24 hours, allowing him to complete his mandatory seven-day lay-off after failing a head injury assessment against St Helens.

Ash Handley makes his 100th Super League appearance.

4:45
Wigan survived a late fightback from Wakefield to claim their fifth league win of the season

Wigan survived a late fightback from Wakefield to claim their fifth league win of the season

Wigan will have Harry Smith starting at stand-off in place of Thomas Leuluai, who is ruled out with an ankle injury sustained in the win over Wakefield.

Captain Sean O’Loughlin and props Tony Clubb and Ben Flower are still sidelined through injury and another front rower, George Burgess, is suspended.

Wigan Warriors squad: 1 Zak Hardaker, 2 Liam Marshall, 3 Chris Hankinson, 5 Joe Burgess, 6 Bevan French, 9 Sam Powell, 11 Willie Isa, 12 Liam Farrell, 15 Joe Greenwood, 16 Morgan Smithies, 19 Joe Bullock, 20 Liam Byrne, 21 Dom Manfredi, 22 Mitch Clark, 23 Jake Bibby, 28 Harry Smith, 29 Jack Wells, 30 Ethan Havard, 31 Jackson Hastings, 32 Amir Bourouh, 33 Joe Shorrocks.

Leeds Rhinos squad: 2 Tom Briscoe, 3 Harry Newman, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Ash Handley, 6 Rob Lui, 7 Luke Gale, 8 Ava Seumanufagai, 9 Kruise Leeming, 10 Matt Prior, 12 Rhyse Martin, 14 Brad Dwyer, 15 Liam Sutcliffe, 17 Adam Cuthbertson, 19 Mikolaj Oledzki, 20 Bodene Thompson, 21 Rhys Evans, 22 Cameron Smith, 23 Callum McLelland, 24 Luke Briscoe, 26 Alex Sutcliffe, 28 Tom Holroyd.



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