Rovers ready for tough test at Catalans

French internnational scrum-half Remy Marginet is set to be back for Featherstone's trip to France. Picture: Matthew Merrick.
French internnational scrum-half Remy Marginet is set to be back for Featherstone's trip to France. Picture: Matthew Merrick.

Featherstone coach Andy Hay believes Sunday’s Challenge Cup sixth round tie at Catalans Dragons could be an ideal test before Rovers face Championship leaders Leigh Centurions at the Summer Bash in Blackpool the following Sunday.

Hay will field his strongest available team in Perpignan but he will not risk any players carrying knocks.

“Catalan will give us a pretty solid test ahead of the Leigh game,” he said.

“It’s the Challenge Cup and it’s important to us. We’ll have everyone prepared and we’ll see how we go. We are going into it with our eyes open.

“They all want to play and have a go at Catalans but we’ve got to be smart with it, a bit like we already have been the last few weeks.

“We rested Will Sharp before we played London and he came back and had a great game. We also rested Reni Maitua because his ankle wasn’t fully right and he came back and did a good job for us last Sunday.

“If people are carrying injuries, they will not play this weekend because we have some massive games coming up.

“We’ve just played a tough game at London and Sunday’s opposition is going to be another step up. Catalans are a good Super League team and everyone tipped them for the top-four at the start of the year. They haven’t had the away results but they’ve had the home results.

“We are going have a crack at them and see where we end up. It would have been great to get a home draw against Leeds but instead we’ve got to travel away. We’ve already had some big trips on the road and our away form is pretty good.

“We are taking a fully fit team to play and compete with Catalans and it’s going to be a tough ask for everyone.”

Rovers will travel to and from France on Sunday for the game at Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Hay said: “We’ve chartered a flight for the game. We fly on Sunday morning and fly back on Sunday night. It’s not ideal but it’s probably the best way we could have done it without going there for two or three days and players having to have time off work and everything else - and not just players but staff and everyone else.”

Tim Spears is set miss Sunday’s trip but Remy Marginet (ankle) and Jordan Baldwinson (shoulder) could be back along with Thomas Minns who was rested for the London match. Aussie prop Ryan Verlinden is set to arrive this week and could also be available.

Hay said: “Tim Spears limped off early on at London with a calf injury.

“We will get a scan to see how bad it is but it didn’t look good so I’d guess he will miss this weekend’s game.”