Rovers ready for cup clash

Ian Hardman, who had his best game of the season at Toulouse, according to coach Daryl Powell.
Ian Hardman, who had his best game of the season at Toulouse, according to coach Daryl Powell.
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FEATHERSTONE Rovers’ rivals beware: Daryl Powell reckons there is more to come from his team and they can improve further on the impressive display in France last Saturday.

Powell was a happy coach after Rovers dismantled potentially tricky opponents in Toulouse and racked up 32 points in the first 30 minutes on the way to an emphatic 56-18 victory over a side that has beaten champions Halifax this year.

But he saw certain areas where the players could do even better and hopes that the improvement may come in the next few weeks as they edge closer to having a full squad competing for places.

He told the Express: “We’re getting some people back from injury and starting to play some smart rugby league. But I think there’s still plenty more in us, to be honest.

“When we got in good field positions at Toulouse we could have executed a little bit better. We scored a lot of our tries from deep through kick returns and the ability of our back three to get us quick starts in our sets.

“There’s still improvement in us and it’s always good as a coach when you look and see what’s needed to improve, but at the same time recognise that it was a good effort.

“It’s looking good at the moment. We are starting to get some consistency to our game. It was great to travel over to France and come away with such a good win. I thought we were outstanding.

“They’d been in pretty good form at home and they had their half-backs, both Australians, back. I thought it would be a tough challenge, but the way went about the game, particularly in the first half, was right. We played with confidence, moved them about the field, got at their weak areas and scored some pretty good tries.

“We were just so focused and determined at the start of the game that we never gave them an opportunity to get a foothold.

“From a first half perspective it was as good as we’ve been this year. We were really dangerous and we were clinical in what we did.

“Our kicking game was outstanding and the kick-chase was superb. We managed to control field position, ee just built pressure on them and they couldn’t handle us really.

“I thought our left edge was superb, Jonny Grayshon and Andy Bostock were superb. Ian Hardman had his best game of the season, he was outstanding and all our back three were. Bryn Powell and Tommy Saxton did a good job as well and every time they kicked the ball to us they had a struggle trying to contain our back three.”

Rovers now turn their attention to the Northern Rail Cup where they are just two wins from a place in the final and face Hunslet at the South Leeds Stadium tomorrow night.

Powell intends to select his strongest possible side and has all last week’s squad at his disposal plus back row forward Ross Divorty, who is expected to be passed fit after picking up an injury at the start of the season. It’s a competition Featherstone are eager to do well in and they are gearing up for a stiff challenge from the Hawks.

“We’re looking forward to the game at Hunslet. We see the Northern Rail Cup as a key part of our season,” said Powell. “We’ve come through a tough group and we want to progress.

“We know what Hunslet are about. They’ve got a lot of players who have played at Featherstone so they won’t be lacking in motivation.

“They did well in the competition last year and it’s a challenge for us. There’s no going there and thinking it’s going to be easy. They’re a newly promoted team and they’ve already beaten Widnes so we’ve got to come up with our top game, go there and be determined and aggressive and hopefully we can come out on top.

“It’s definitely a good competition and one we’d like to do well in. I can’t understand why some people don’t take it seriously.”

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