Eight new recruits will play for Rovers in Castleford clash

Rovers centre Michael Channinng is set to face his old club Castleford on Sunday
Rovers centre Michael Channinng is set to face his old club Castleford on Sunday

Eight signings are in Featherstone’s squad for Sunday’s pre-season game at Castleford.

Misi Taulapapa, Anthony Thackeray, Scott Turner, Jonny Davies, Darrell Griffin, Colton Roche, Matt Wildie and Michael Channing are the new faces on duty but Rovers will be without full-back Danny Craven, signed on a season-long loan from Widnes. Tim Spears and Ian Hardman will also be missing

For Roche and Thackeray, it will be their second Featherstone ‘debuts’ with them having previously played for the club.

Featherstone’s squad is Louis Brown, Kyran Johnson, Michael Channing, Misi Taulapapa, Scott Turner, Anthony Thackeray, Will Milner, Darrell Griffin, Matty Wildie, Andy Bostock, Jamie Cording, Colton Roche, Jack Ormondroyd, Sam Day, Luke Cooper, Bradley Tagg, Jack Coventry, Steve Snitch, Jonny Davies.

“It will not be the strongest team we can field - we have a couple of blokes missing - but we’ll try to put out the best team we can from the players available,” said Rovers coach Jon Sharp.

“We will probably put 18 or 19 out. We have a couple of blokes unavailable through injury. There are a couple who are carrying knocks who won’t be risked.

“Danny Craven has a pre-existing injury from last season and he’s not ready for contact just yet.”

Sharp is looking forward to the first hit-out for his new-look squad.

“The Mend-A Hose-Jungle has always been a good place to watch rugby with the atmosphere the fans generate. The added spice on Sunday is that it’s Featherstone v Castleford,” he said.

“We’ve been training for seven or eight weeks and the boys are ready for a game.

“It will be good for us too see where we are and benchmark ourselves against a really good team.

“It’s difficult for players to just train and have no game at the end of the week so I think they are looking forward to it

“I am really pleased with pre-season.

“We’ve worked them hard and the attitude and response has been great. We are really pleased with the input of our new head of strength and conditioning Billy Mallinson and the input of the new players who have come into the group.”

Sunday’s game will be the first of seven pre-season matches for Sharp’s men.

He added: “I’m usually not in favour of too many friendlies - it’s a long season anyway - but it all depends on your situation and I think for us having plenty of friendlies to get our teeth into gives us an oppportunity to start bedding and blending new combinations and seeing what new players can do. It gives us an opportunity to see where we are at and where they are at and how the team is gelling.

“I’m pleased with the choice of opposition we have and the number of games. I think it’s just perfect for us at this stage. It’s about getting out there and having a hit out and looking at the video and learning from it. I don’t expect us to be fantastic at all but I’m just looking forward to having some footage to look at and to coach the players and improve them for the following game.

“We’ve got a lot of new people in key positions. The spine of the team has changed from last season and it will take time for the blokes to get used to one another.

“No matter how hard or often you train there’s nothing like a game.”