Forwards return for Castleford’s French test

Gadwin Springer, in contention for a return to action for Castleford Tigers.
Gadwin Springer, in contention for a return to action for Castleford Tigers.

Head coach Daryl Powell expects to be able to field a stronger side this week as Castleford Tigers aim to close in on the fifth place finish they have targeted.

The Tigers need to beat Catalans Dragons in Perpignan if they are to have any chance of taking the fifth place they currently occupy and Powell is pleased to have at least three forwards back who were unavailable for last week’s 40-16 loss St Helens.

He was forced to turn to academy players Conor Fitz-simmonds and Brandon Douglas at Saints, but Mike McMeeken is set to return after missing the last eight games with a broken leg, fellow back rowers Oliver Holmes and Andre Savelio should also be available and prop Gadwin Springer is back in contention.

However, Cas will be without another back row forward with Junior Moors suffering ligament damage that will rule him out of the rest of the season and they are also forced to make a change at half-back with Rangi Chase suspended for one match following a trip on Jonny Lomax.

“We’re a little bit better off this week,” Powell told the Express.

“Mike McMeeken looks like he’s finally going to be available. We’ve got Oli Holmes back after he was ill last week and Andre Savelio, who couldn’t play last week.

“I’m not sure about Gadwin Springer. I think he’ll be a late call, but we should be better.

“Gadwin’s improved pretty quickly after his injury and he’s not as bad as we thought he would be.

“Junior Moors is not great, he’s got a ligament injury and I wouldn’t have thought we’d see him again this year, which is disappointing.

“He’s been a really strong player for us this year and I thought losing him after 20 minutes at St Helens when we were in front had a significant impact on the game.”

Powell made it clear he was unhappy with the actions of Chase at St Helens, which has left him with another selection dilemma at a time when he has so many other players out.

He said: “It’s not the sort of thing I want to see him doing.

“There’s no place for that, it was a really stupid thing to do and it hurt us.

“You don’t want to see players doing things that hurt their team-mates so it was a bit of a lesson for Rangi and for anybody really. It was pointless and there was no need for it.

“Going down to 12 men against a team like St Helens is not the smartest thing to do.

“It also means we’ve got to change the team this week, but we’ve handled every one we’ve been faced with this year. We’ve got used to it really, people having to slot in at different times in different spots.

“No doubt the player who slots in there will do a great job for us.”

Whatever team takes the field, Powell is confident they will give it a big go.

He added: “We’ve been close over there a couple of times in recent years so we’ll go and have a real dig at it.

“We’re going into every challenge looking to win the game and come out on top.

“We can take some confidence from having beaten them at home this year. It’s a little bit different going away from home, they are a tough side to beat over there no question, but we are capable of winning if we go and perform in the way we can.”