Castleford Tigers winger James Clare relishing chance to play against Leeds Rhinos

James Clare in action for Castleford Tigers.
James Clare in action for Castleford Tigers.

Winger James Clare is backing Castleford Tigers to bounce back from their cup disappointment in the game he enjoys most.

As a dyed in the wool Castleford fan as well as player Clare always looks forward to the Leeds Rhinos games and is relishing a trip to Emerald Headingley tonight.

The 28-year-old was preferred to Greg Eden on the left wing at Hull last week and responded with a solid defensive display and a try, his fifth of the season. He is hoping to keep his place in the team and cannot wait to get a chance of some revenge against the Rhinos after Cas lost to them in a golden point game in March.

He told the Express: “I love playing against Leeds, I always enjoy it.

“They are special moments to be involved in and at their new stadium as well, it’s phenomenal. You feel like you’re in a different country or on a different planet when you’re having a look around it.

“It’s a really special place to be. I think the best thing about it is the amount of fans that turn up in force.

“You always get extra Leeds fans there and some extra Cas fans turn up because it is a derby game and it makes it a special atmosphere.

“It’s as big as they come. Especially for me growing up as a Cas Tigers fan, Leeds is the one I always looked at first to see when we’d be playing them.

“It’s a massive one and as much as you don’t want to look at the past there’s still that disappointment from the golden point drop goal, but we just need to focus on what we’re good at and what we’re hopefully going to do.”

Clare is expecting a tough examination from a Leeds team that will be every bit as motivated as Cas after they also went out of the Challenge Cup last week.

He said: “Leeds are a good team at times and they put other teams under pressure. They have got some amazing individuals, but we just need to deal with those and focus on what we’re good at.

“Leeds are a really good team and they’ve got winners in their team who don’t just want to win, they need to win.

“We just need to be better than our opposite number because there’s some outstanding individuals.

“Hopefully as much as they need the win we need it that little bit more.

“I think you are going to expect a massive response from both teams after crashing out of the cup.

“Leeds are in a bit of turmoil at the moment, what they are going through with coaches and transitions, but that gives an opportunity for players who maybe haven’t played under the previous coach. We will see what happens.

“There’s been a few strange choices, like Kallum Watkins playing back-row in the cup. We’ll see what happens with that and deal with what’s thrown at us on the day.”