STRONG-RUNNING PROP Gadwin Springer knows more than most the scale of the challenge facing Castleford Tigers in the Perpignan cauldron today.
Springer, who joined Tigers from this afternoon’s hosts Catalans Dragons in 2015, is looking forward to a ‘home’ game, but admitted Castleford will have their work cut out in tough conditions against an in-form team.
“Catalans are playing well the last few games,” observed the 25-year-old French international. “I think there is going to be a festival going on so there will be a big crowd and they are fighting to be in the Super-8s so it will be a tough game for us.
“It is very tough there, especially with the crowd shouting for them, but we are looking forward to it and we are going to have a few guys back which will be good for us. All my family are going to be there so if I am playing I will be happy.”
Tigers have developed a habit of following a good performance with a below-par one and Springer stressed they need to back-up from last week’s outstanding win over Wigan Warriors.
“We are trying to be in the top-four and then the top-three,” he said. “We just have to keep going, even if we have some injuries. The boys who come in just have to do well.”
The one-point success against Wigan, achieved with an under-strength team, has boosted confidence for today’s challenge.
“It was a very good win,” Springer reflected. “We had a few injuries so a lot of the young boys had to step up and they did.
“It is always going to be a tough game against Wigan so we just had to dig deep and enjoy it because people didn’t expect us to win because of the injuries we had. But Mitch Clark, for example, did well and Will Maher as well. It was good for the young boys and for me as well.
“I have been injured with my back, so it was good to play and do well.”
Springer admitted he has endured a “stop-start” season so far. He recalled: “I had an injury with my groin. It took me a long time to come back and when I came back I was 18th man and I wasn’t playing much.
“When I started playing I was playing well, but I injured my back in training and I was out for another four or five weeks. Now I am back fit so I hope I can get a few games under my belt. It is hard when you don’t play for a few weeks and then you come back. If I can be playing I will get better and better.”
Tigers will field a stronger side than last week, when they were without 11 senior players due to injury. Forwards Oliver Holmes, Liam Watts, Adam Milner and Jesse Sene-Lefao are back in contention and Kieran Gill, who did not play against Wigan, retains his place in the initial squad. Jy Hitchcox is sidelined after suffering two fractures to his spine last week. Will Maher and James Green also drop out.
Catalans coach Steve McNamara will select from the 17 players who won at Leeds Rhinos last week, plus Vincent Duport and Mickael Goudemand.
Castleford Tigers: from Clare, Clark, Cook, Egodo, Ellis, Gill, Holmes, Laulu-Togaga’e, Massey, McShane, Millington, Milner, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Trueman, Watts, Webster.