DESPITE speculation surrounding his possible move back to Australia inspirational stand-off Rangi Chase is set to start for Castleford Tigers in tomorrow night’s big fourth round Tetley’s Challenge Cup tie at Leeds Rhinos.
Temporary head coach Danny Orr, who will stay in charge for the tie, is confident his mercurial half-back can give another outstanding display like the one that brought him the man of the match award in the morale-boosting 28-26 win against Widnes last Saturday.
The club have said that they would listen to offers from Australia for the former Man Of Steel and St George Illawarra are interested. They appeared to be making room for him when agreeing to let stand-off Jamie Soward leave for Penrith this week.
But with no move yet confirmed Chase remains available to Orr as does hooker Daryl Clark who has been linked with a move to Warrington.
Cas are also believed to have fielded offers for other young stars, but Orr is not allowing all the speculation to affect his plans for the match with Leeds, which will bring back memories of many classic ties between the clubs down the years.
The Tigers go into the tie boosted by the return of two first teamers with outside back Justin Carney returning after a two match suspension and back rower Lee Gilmour expected to be available again after missing the Widnes game with a hamstring strain.
Orr told the Express: “Rangi is in the squad. There’s rumours flying here, there and everywhere, but as far as I’m aware and speaking to Rangi he knows he’s in the squad.
“He’s fit and available to play and wants to put on a good performance.
“The squad’s very similar to last week’s, but I’ve got a few more options because there’s a couple of players back who missed out last week. Lee Gilmour is in contention as is Justin Carney, who’s back from suspension.
“Having those two senior players back in the squad and training all week is a big help.
“Kirk Dixon’s probably another week off. He’s had a really bad viral infection when he’s lost quite a bit of weight. He’s on the mend, but needs to get his strength back and the weight put back on, which he’s doing daily.
“This week has come a little too early for Kirk, but I’m sure he will be fine for next week.”
Orr is confident of a good display from his team.
He said: “Friday night’s at Leeds are one of the hardest places to go, but we trained well last week and we got a win, which was important for us and will give us a bit of confidence. The lads have trained well again this week and we’ll put a few final things in place then hopefully go to Leeds and perform well.
“We have beaten them before this year and can take a lot of confidence from that when we performed really well.
“It’s a totally different game, a different competition and venue, but I’m confident in the team I’m putting out that if they play well they are more than capable of winning again.
“At the same time we respect Leeds, they are not champions for nothing. They are a great team and they are slowly building some momentum. Every week I see them they are getting better and better. It’s going to be a really tough game, but personally I’m really looking forward to it.”
Tigers chief executive Steve Gill, meanwhile, said that Orr would still be in charge for the Leeds match with no deadline set on an appointment as a successor to Ian Millward.
He also confirmed that the club had received an offer from their Australian former coach Stuart Raper to return.
Gill said: “Stuart Raper has offered his help to the club until the end of the season.
“There have been a number of applicants and Stuart’s is one that we are considering.
“If there are any other developments we will announce them. However, there is no timescale at this moment in time.”