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Sunday, 21 September 2014

ROUND-UP

DEWSBURY Rams coach Warren Jowitt insists his squad will bounce back from last week’s 28-0 defeat against Batley.

DEWSBURY RAMS v TOULOUSE OLYMPIQUE

Rams were completely outplayed in their first Co-operative Championship fixture of 2011, but Jowitt is certain things will be different tonight.

He said: “Looking the lads in the eyes at training, and seeing their body language this week, I can tell you they’re going to bounce back on Saturday. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t bounce back. It was a very poor performance, and the players know that.”

He added: “Each team will have a bad one this year – hopefully that’s ours and we’ve got it out of the way.”

Luke Blake is fit to play despite suffering a blow to the head last week.

On Toulouse, Jowitt said: “We’ve already played them once, and we know what they’re about.“They come fast and hard, and we’ve got to withstand that. Josh Lewis is a very good half-back, and Brendan Worth is very influential as well. If we can stop those two then we’ll be making things easier for ourselves.”

Toulouse started their season with a stunning 26-12 victory over last year’s champions Halifax. Coach Gilles Dumas could be further boosted by the returns of Sebastien Payan and Constant Villegas for the trip to West Yorkshire.

FEATHERSTONE ROVERS v BATLEY BULLDOGS

TONY Tonks returns for Featherstone Rovers tomorrow after his suspension was reduced by the RFL Disciplinary Committee on appeal, but Rovers coach Daryl Powell has plenty of other concerns ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Batley.

Tim Spears (knee), Dave Williams (ankle), Sam Smeaton (ankle) and Kris Welham (knee) all suffered injuries during last week’s defeat at Leigh. All four will be given fitness tests this week, although Andrew Bostock could return after withdrawing from last week’s fixture due to a stomach virus.

Powell said: “We’re doing it pretty tough. It’s an unprecedented injury list for us, so we’ll have to dig deep.”

Kris Lythe is available for Batley Bulldogs after completing a one-match suspension.

But influential playmaker Paul Mennell is set to miss his second consecutive match as he battles to recover from a leg infection.

Batley coach Karl Harrison watched his side beat Dewsbury 28-0 in last week’s opening round of the Co-operative Championship.Harrison said: “It was a very, very good professional performance against a physical Dewsbury team. To nil them was outstanding.”

He added: “I still think we’ve got lots of improvement with the ball in hand, but that will come as the season goes on.“Every team can beat every team in this division. You’ve got to prepare well and get lucky week in, week out. If you get results you’ve also then got to try to stop teams getting bonus points, because that’s a massive feature of this division.”

WIDNES VIKINGS v HUNSLET HAWKS

WIDNES Vikings coach Denis Betts could name an unchanged side for tomorrow’s visit of Hunslet to the Stobart Stadium.

Widnes emerged unscathed from last week’s 44-16 win at Sheffield. Betts said: “We’ve got a full squad to select from, and that’s a nice situation to be in at this stage of the year.”

On the Hawks, Betts added: “I know the March boys are going to be playing in a very tenacious, competitive team.

“Hunslet are going to be working really hard, they’re going to compete and they’ll make you fight for everything you get.”

But Betts was left impressed by his side’s demolition of Sheffield last week, and is hoping for a repeat performance.He said: “I’ve been pretty happy with the way we’ve gone over the last four or five weeks. We knew Sheffield would be physical and tough, but we handled it well.“The attitude of the players was outstanding. We played well, had good shape, and showed real resilience on our line.”

Hunslet’s Dave Clayton (groin) is the visitors’ major injury doubt, while Adam Sullivan (facial injury) will be assessed before the game.

Hawks coach Paul March has called for his side to be more aggressive in defence following last week’s 28-28 draw with York.

He said: “The main focus we’ve had over the last few weeks has been defence and we let ourselves down on Sunday. Even in the first half we weren’t as good as we have been.“We sat back rather than be aggressive and get off our line. If we can sort our defence out, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

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