Thornton proud of young Tigers players

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CASTLEFORD Tigers will compete in the inaugural final of the RL Nines competition at Headingley Carnegie Stadium next Tuesday evening.

The Tigers, who won 10 of their 12 matches in the group stages, will be joined in the final by Wigan Warriors, Wakefield Wildcats, Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Salford City Reds, Hull FC and Cumbria.

Castleford’s Nines coach Gary Thornton was proud with the performances of his players in last night’s round of fixtures at Probiz Coliseum.

Minus any players with first team experience for the first time in the tournament, Castleford beat Halifax 14-11 but lost 10-4 to Hull KR and 16-10 to Wakefield.

“We had a very young squad out last night, with all our players eligible for under 20’s, and five of them coming from our under 18’s,” said Thornton.

“Last night was a fantastic opportunity for them to experience a taste of nines rugby.

“It is very different from the 13-a-side game, very fast and furious and they have to defend much bigger spaces than they normally do.

“It takes time for the players to adapt to nines, and the more experienced players - those who have played for a couple of weeks now - will testify how difficult it is.”

“Naturally we were a bit disappointed to lose our 100 per cent record, but delighted we have qualified for the finals night next Tuesday.”

Wigan were the only unbeaten side in the group stages with 12 successive victories and will go into the final as favourites.

The finals night will also see Rugby League’s fastest man crowned. Details of the fastest man competition will be announced later this week with full details of the competing players.

Tickets for the finals nights cost £5 in advance for adults or £10 on the night. However kids go free. Tickets are available from Headingley Carnegie Stadium ticket office or call 0871 423 131.

The opening game at final is between Wigan Warriors and Hull FC, which kicks off at 6pm. With the final due to commence at 9.20pm