Sheens excited to see pivots do battle

Category: On The Pitch

Sheens excited to see pivots do battle

Head coach Tim Sheens says he’s expecting to see a high quality battle between the pivotal players of both sides when Hull Kingston Rovers kick-off their Qualifiers campaign at home to Salford tomorrow night.

The round one clash at KCOM Craven Park is a big test for both teams as they look to make a winning start to their quest to secure a place in next season’s Betfred Super League, and Sheens is taking nothing for granted despite his side’s recent 52-22 victory against the Red Devils.

“They (Salford) have got some players back from injury such as Craig Kopczak and they’ve brought in Jackson Hastings and Joey Lussick who are going to be a huge threat.

“Add Rob Lui and Niall Evalds to that and it’s a very good spine. Up against them we’ve got the likes of Adam Quinlan, Danny McGuire, Shaun Lunt, Todd Carney, Chris Atkin and Tommy Lee, so it’s going to be a big battle of who makes the right calls, makes the right decisions and kicks the best – all the things you’d expect from that calibre of player.

“Whichever spine gets to play off the back of the best go-forward will go a long way to deciding this game so it’s a challenge for our forward pack. We’re missing the likes of Bobby Blair, Mose Masoe and Lee Jewitt up front, but we still go into the game with plenty of confidence.

“We’ve trained hard over the last couple of weeks and we’re well prepared, not just tonight but for these next seven matches. We’ve got a great spirit within the group and high skill levels so I’m certainly confident in our ability, but it’s about going out there and performing each week.”

Rovers head into the Qualifiers in arguably the best form of the Super League sides with just one defeat in their last six matches – a consistent run which Sheens challenged his players to do.

However, the Rovers boss has fired out a warning to his squad that the hard work must start again tomorrow night.

“We’ve been in good form, and that’s what we wanted, but we still understand that everybody now starts on zero. Whether you’re Leeds who finished ninth in Super League or Halifax who finished fourth in the Championship, everybody starts equal and that means every team is going to come at us hungry and with plenty of energy.

“We’ve got no right to assume that we’re better than Salford or Widnes because we finished higher than them on the table, or that we’re better than the four Championship teams. History tells us that somebody has been promoted in this format in each of the last two seasons, so we know what can happen.

“I think this is the strongest Qualifiers that there’s ever been so we’ve got to be prepared as a team to prepare well for each game and by that I mean to put ourselves in a position to play our best rugby at the hardest intensity because that’s what it’s going to take, starting against Salford.”

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