Castleford Tigers coach pleased with Oliver Holmes’ return to action

Oliver Holmes is tackled by Salford's Jackson Hastings and Josh Jones on his return to action. Picture: Tony Johnson
Oliver Holmes is tackled by Salford's Jackson Hastings and Josh Jones on his return to action. Picture: Tony Johnson

Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell is pleased with the way his England forward Oliver Holmes came through his first game back after injury.

Back rower Holmes, who made his Test debut for England against France last year and toured Papua New Guinea with England Knights, had been sidelined for the first five games of the 2019 season after undergoing shoulder surgery in pre-season.

But after making good progress in his rehab he was thrown straight in at the deep end on his comeback against Salford Red Devils last Sunday and came through an 80-minute performance all right with his head coach pleased with his efforts.

Powell told the Express: “It was pretty tough for him to stay out there for 80 minutes when he’s been out for so long.

“He’s a naturally fit player and it was difficult for him playing on an edge that was not his favoured side, but the team needs him to do that and he did some good things.

“There were areas he’d want to be a little bit better at, but when you’re out there for 80 minutes in your first game it’s a pretty tough gig.

“It was good to see him play international rugby last year and he did a good job didn’t he?

“It was great for him and great for Adam Milner to have a look at it as well.

“He’s a good player Oggy. We’ve got good back rowers at the club and we should have Mike McMeeken back in two or three weeks then there’s real competition for places.”

Powell, meanwhile, said that half-back Ben Roberts was still sidelined with a hamstring injury with no immediate prospect of a return to first team action.

He added: “I’m not sure how long Ben Roberts is going to be out. His hamstring’s going on a little bit and we’ll probably know more in the next couple of weeks.”