Clare sees positives but insists Castleford Tigers have to improve

James Clare gets the ball down in the corner for a try for Castleford Tigers at Hull. Picture: Matthew Merrick
James Clare gets the ball down in the corner for a try for Castleford Tigers at Hull. Picture: Matthew Merrick

They may boast a 100 per cent record from their first two games in the Betfred Super League, but there will be no resting on their laurels for Castleford Tigers, according to winger James Clare.

While the results have been great, the performances have been a bit scratchy in places and Clare reckons the Tigers are going to have to improve if they are to be a consistent top five team in 2019.

On the Hull game, which Cas won 26-18 with the aid of a Clare try, the winger said: “I don’t think we could play any worse and get a win.

“We were a little bit better against Catalans in the first game, but it was a really scrappy performance last week.

“But if you’d said at the beginning of the season we could be two wins from two, regardless of how we played, we would have taken it so it is a good start.

“Hull is always an extremely difficult place to go at whatever time of the year, whether it’s their first home game or the end of the season.

“They did exactly what we expected them to do, but we just needed to be a little bit better.”

Tigers led 10-0 early on, but found themselves 12-10 behind after 26 minutes and the result remained in the balance for the remainder with Hull exerting some strong pressure at times.

Clare continued: “We got a good start. If we had finished a bit better and nailed the completion it might have been 20 or 30-0 by half-time, but we were keeping them contained in their half and kicking well, but turning the ball over with little silly errors.

“We just need to be a little bit smarter.”

Tigers’ goal-line defence was good, however, as Clare agreed: “I think there were two or three against Hull that were genuine try-savers.

“There were a couple where we planned to drag them back in to make them go 10 metres and play the ball, but the desperation by the lads to actually get in there and pull off try-saving tackles like that is hopefully a sign of a winning team.”

Clare scored his first try of the season with an acrobatic diving effort early in the second half to boost his confidence as he looks to nail down a place on the right-wing.

He remarked: “It’s nice. A lot of ball goes down the left side so it’s difficult for a right winger for Cas Tigers, but to get on the scoresheet is always nice.”

Castleford have no game this weekend when most Super League clubs take a break for Sunday’s World Club Challenge.

“As much as you’d like to play every week and build your consistency I think this might be good for us,” Clare predicted.

“There’s been two intense, really hard games so it’ll still be a tough week, but chance to work on the little bits we need to do skill-wise and our completion and then hopefully we can kick on to a good round three.

“There’s some massive positives. I think Cas are looking different this year defensively.

“Showing we are turning up for each other - the line speed in their 20 when we are trying to trap them down there - Cas are looking massively different.

“We just need to play a little bit smarter and if we can fix a few things up hopefully we can kick on.”