Highlights and analysis from the Super League. Wigan v Castleford, Warrington v Leeds, Hull FC v Salford, St Helens v Huddersfield, Leigh v Catalans and Wakefield v Widnes.
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Another magnificent try! What a tackle! Oh, my word, what a try!
The drama continues at the start of a landmark week in the Super League
season. Coming up, the first words on Easter and the final words on
Round 8, all in the company of Paul Aiton and James Jones-Buchanan. We
start with the news of the first coaching departure of 2017. Keiron
Cunningham is no longer in charge of St Helens. He enjoyed a glittering
playing career at St Helens, making nearly 500 appearances for his home
town team. He's lost the ball! It looks like Keiron Cunningham! He
helped them win five Super League titles, and was chosen by club
supporters to be honoured with a bronze statue inside their stadium.
He was appointed head coach of the tenants after their Grand Final
success in 2014. They put the ball down! Two seasons without a trophy
and three wins in the opening eight games of 2017 have led to his
departure in the club. How surprised were you when you heard the news
this morning? I was shocked. I called Luke Walshe, who was at the
back of the bus, actually. Just to get some confirmation, see if he had
heard the news. How surprised was he? Extremely shocked and he felt
for him. He was as shocked as we all were. Can't really say too much. Do
you think perhaps they've been a team struggling for their identity,
they are not the St Helens we've known and loved over the last couple
of years? The brand they play it with was at the forefront. From the
mid-90s to 2009. They were the most consistently dangerous team I've
ever played against. They get out at 110 miles an hour, they had this
mentality that it didn't matter if they were points down, they could
come back and win it. They've never quite recaptured that game
philosophy, that ethos. I think that is what the fans and club expected.
That group, they never quite got it back. It's Easter, the busiest time
and they've got Wigan coming up on Good Friday, how surprised I you add
the timing, apart from anything else? Definitely, especially over
Easter. I've lost a coach midway through the season and I found that
pretty difficult. I think the players will have to stick together,
band together for the game against Wigan. You've talked about Keiron as
a legendary player. Do you think that's half the problem for Kim,
because he had such a status at the club? What is it like to coach Leeds
Rhinos, I think? How many people I've got a statue outside the
ground? That is usually left four people reserved to history and he's
got it there right now. It is a big mark to live up to and it is
obviously a shame. I'm talking about it because it is a shame. The
reference he's got throughout the game, the admiration from the top to
the bottom, the players love him, he was a great player. Unfortunately,
hasn't got it as a coach but I hope he doesn't give it up, I hope he
continues because we see how many coaches have had to go through that
adversity to get anything at the top.
The match that was to be St Helens' final game under Keiron Cunningham
was at home to Huddersfield on Friday, and Sharon
Saint Helen 's chairman said in his programme notes before the match
that is room for further slip ups was limited and the next few games
would be an indication of how it would go. Percival took the break
before Fages went in before the break. Percival added the goal. It
was the start of 14 points in a 12 minute period for Saints as Fages
got on the scoresheet again. He went in from 30 metres out here. An
outrageous step taking him around McIntosh. The conversion was missed
but Saints were 2-0 up and only got better for them before the break
with the third try. Swift scored his 100th for Saints. The conversion
wasn't successful again but they were leading 14-0 by the break.
Huddersfield hadn't managed a win in their last several games. McIntosh
got the first of three tries in 16 minutes. Brough was back after
suspension and it was his kick that led to this. McIntosh won the race
for the ball and touched down. Brough converted with three minutes
to go. It's led to an air of tension around the ground with Saints fans
fearing the worst whilst Huddersfield was sensing their way
back in. A great break from McIntosh. Murphy held the ball
alive. As the clock continued to tick down, Huddersfield held their
heads. Brough was involved with another kick Crossfield. It wasn't
taken by Percival under pressure and now Huddersfield were level. This
touch-line effort fell short and it ended all square. St Helens players
left the field with the fans booing ringing in their ears.
In a funny way, was that game in microcosm of Saint Helen season?
Good patches but then Keiron calling them weak mentally. It meant a lot
to him, the time he was at St Helens, what it means to him with
the history and the trophies they've won over the years. He will
understand what mental toughness went into that and the emotional
energy, the training. I'm not part of their club and I don't know
what's going on there now but when you lose leagues and capitulate,
it's tough to take as a player, and as a coach you can see his
frustration. You have Huddersfield, they didn't win the game but presume
Ubley you'll face a team buoyed by coming back. That's right. We've
done our homework on the Giants. Ultimately, for us, it's more about
us and how we bounce back because we will be under pressure as well.
Their fans are passionate. When they've had something like that, do
you see that they are a different proposition? Definitely because you
get the comrade Ray, and when times get tough, people show up. I find it
that you bounce back and get harder, stronger together.
So, interesting times ahead at St Helens.
Next up for us it's the Super League leaders Castleford, and their match
We have been looking forward to this one for such a long time. Two
heavyweights of the Super League, Wigan and Castleford coming
together. Joel Monaghan takes an unexpected
place in the line-up through player injury at warm up. Taken down the
middle. Wigan's defenders get on top of him.
Roberts! Webster! The delay was enough to put the pass in for
Webster to push over. First strike, Cassell foot. So, at the restart,
Wigan looked to settle themselves after the concession of that drive.
Castleford fuelled with energy. They've had to do a lot of defending
in the opening minutes of this game but they've ridden that so far.
He takes some stopping. Sene-Lefao with the off-load, and they found a
gap! He has support from Gale who will scamper underneath the sticks.
That is two Castleford tries in the space of a couple of minutes.
They've romped into life again. Wigan's defenders on their line. He
has drawn defenders to him who were not square so this will be a penalty
for Castleford. One either side. Gale settling himself. He is a
points machine this season. Scores tries and kicks penalties as well.
Escare. Very vigorous effort, and still going. They hold on and the
referee says tackle complete. There is a tangle here. Williams. Over the
head of his intended target. The pressure is being applied. Williams
again. Across the defence. Escare! The footwork to beat his man on the
inside! Wonderful try from the Frenchman and Wigan have their first
score of the night, back end of the half.
Springer, he's one of those big athletes that Castleford have in
their ranks that can make problems for any side. Here's another one of
them. He was tackled and makes another 20 yards.
Sene-Lefao! Wow, rips a hole in those Wigan defenders! And gets
through. The muscularity of it, incredible! Castleford fans are
loving this. The Wigan man ran into hit the
tackle and the defender's head snapping back. Wigan needing
something quickly. They have a chance. Inside ball for Escare who
will score his second try of the night. But there are only seven
minutes to go. It could be too little too late.
They are allowed to carry on. Escare! On a hat-trick but he runs
into a pocket of defenders and runs out again and making things happen
for Wigan. If they score here now, Wigan, they
still have time for another and a miraculous escape. Wigan continued
to press. The interception! Eden, he's got to go the distance it,
hasn't he? The two wingers chasing back but there's no stopping Eden
who will score they tried to confirm a big, big win Castleford tonight.
They are clear at the top of Super League, and what a statement they've
made tonight. Wigan fans clearly not happy, leaving early. It's going to
be another game without a win for Wigan, this blip continuing.
Castleford haven't finished yet. They will rub salt into the wound,
Gale with a drop kick, 27-10, quite a night for the Tigers. A smiling
Daryl Powell five. They felt it was the biggest test they've faced so
far, is how big a statement is for them to come through it? Wigan's
defence is known as tough and technical. I think it shows a big
statement because, for me, they were playing using the footy. What can
you say? Castleford, and Saint Helen 's ten years ago, Castleford have
captured that, they are reacting to the defence. Wigan have some of the
best events. They are the best structured team as well for me. They
get to a position on the field and executed with precision. My wife
watches Thursday night rugby, it's all ice cream, and we watch it, and
it's this battle playing what you see versus the structure and
Castleford prevailed. It is the hardest brand of rugby to attain,
what they've been doing and it prevailed over the structure and
could change the landscape of Rugby League. Was it also Castleford's
defence of capabilities, it's what they were particularly pleased with
and is that a key aspect if they're going to win stuff? Definitely. As
JJB mentioned, when you're playing that sort of footy, everyone needs
to be in the right spot, and it is hard to defend as well. They have
some big humans playing for Wigan, so for them to defend them and to
attack the way they did, it was great. Two players you know from
your youth, Moors and Sene-Lefao, if they're coming off the bench, that
must be something to see, talk about their aspect. I was lucky enough to
play with Junior, we came through the junior ranks together in
Penrith. Jesse was younger than me. Still 26, but he was younger than me
at the time. It's great to see them playing over here and thereof as the
enjoying it. How hard to stop? He bulldozed there. It's fast. They've
got great off-load. What is maximising their ability is how
efficient Castleford are. Whenever they're getting the ball, they're
getting it fresh. They look like superheroes at the minute. Wigan,
we're not used to seeing them lose three on the bounce. I have a long
injury list but what do you think the feeling will be in that camp?
Jeez... It isn't the best feeling I've been there before. I guess
you've got to stop focusing on your opposition and focus on yourselves
and what you can do better yourself for the next week. If you focus on
everything else, you're focusing on the wrong things.
So, Castleford head into Easter at the top of the table,
and the only team to have beaten them so far are Salford.
The Red Devils are in great form, and were looking for a fourth
Your commentator for this one is Matt Newsum.
Hangs one app to that right-hand side. Get it away to my goals. Hull
FC take the lead in just five minutes. Hull chucking it at through
the middle. Then got the penalty. To extend the lead, Marc Sneyd from the
tee. Does so with ease. Robert Lui steps towards the line and prizes
his way through and Salford have a response. Really good effort from
Salford to move the ball to this right-hand side. Well furnished by
Greg Johnson. He has been a standout player first
Salford this season. So many options for Salford. They have turned the
game on its head. That went up so devastating. Slipper Lee run. Get
the Toetu Johnson. Salford have to shift the ball wide. Junior S'au
will race through. Muscles his way in. Salford in total control. Morgan
Tompkins. O'Brien picks one out to the right-hand side for Thomson who
scores his second and are completely coasting. Even when the pass does
not fall directly to a player Salford, the lack is running their
way. Great pass to Dobson. Onto Junior S'au. Justin Carney, great
finish. Corner picks out Jamie Shaul. He crawls to the line and
just about. Well taken in the end. That is a beautiful try by Steve
Michaels. Booming pass to that right-hand side. Salford keeping the
ball alive. Salford extended the lead again.
Can't contain him. Struggling to lay a finger on him. Hull mount enough
of a defence to stop him. It is a penalty. Jamie Shaul will go to that
bin for ten. It is not Hull's night. There is another big kick for him.
Look at the Hull players, they do not know what to do. George Griffin,
Salford, he is winning the battle tonight. Is there another try in
this Salford side? Johnson has been elusive he is still going. He will
go through for the try. That's just about sums up the game.
Salford absolutely dominant. If it was a statement from Castleford, how
much of a statement from Salford? It was brilliant. Just watching some of
the young players drop off a view tackles, like they were lacking
confidence, by contrast Salford have got that synergy between the
players. Dobson, Robert Lui, Justin Carney, there is competition for
players. They are confident. They are secure in their trust for each
other. Have you spoken since he went to Salford M yes, he is enjoying his
time there. I am happy to see him enjoying his football. Easter Monday
at your place, watching that, you will have to rest up. I have been
keeping an eye on Salford. They are a team that I enjoy watching play.
They always show up for each other. Ian Watson has talked about the team
ethic. Can you see that? Definitely. There is a few teams that I like
watching, they are definitely one of them. A couple of weeks ago, in
defence they were amazing, one-month loan. Half of them injured. Still
showing up. You have got Hull on Friday. What do you think he means
by going into the insecure box? I think Babel jumped right out of it.
The fans will get right behind them. -- think they will jump right out.
They will be physical this week. This weekend will be no different.
So, Castleford and Salford flying high, but down at the bottom
the Warrington Wolves were still looking
They met the Leeds Rhinos on Friday, and Dave Woods was watching.
Leeds looking to make as much of an advantage as they can. Might have
been hotly. The referee said play on but the touchline judge on the
nearside. That was a little weight and
certainly high. The arm was up. The connection was with the chin. He is
in the sin-bin, then westward, first minute of the game, Warrington going
to 12 men. Leeds threatening.
Briscoe is still going. Has he got it down? Warrington defenders are
claiming he hasn't. He thinks, try on the field. We will have a look at
this. Is there enough evidence to override the referee? That looks as
though it has been grounded, what a start for Leeds, calamitous for
Warrington, the try confirmed, and after two minutes Leeds have to
lead. Drops by Cuthbertson. Getting a little tasty here as well. Ashton
Sims and Adam Cuthbertson. Ashton Sims made contact. It is on report.
Warrington pressing and probing here.
Knocks it back. Ryan Atkins scores. Warrington back level. 14 minutes
played. Did they need that? Here is Clark again. Ratchford is joining in
from full-back. Leeds players slowing it down. It measures click
on that right foot. Atkins goes up and takes it, and false tone to
score. Two kicks, two tries, Ryan Atkins the finisher for the second
time. Leeds are defending desperately here as Warrington are
oppressing and probing. They would love to get another score on the
board early in the second half to settle their nurse further. Here
they come. They have the numbers. They will pick out lying on the
left-hand side, and what a start to the second half for Warrington.
Little dummy Sean. -- shown. The referee is going to ask for a
cheque year, but Mark Parcell might have caught that Warrington defence
napping. It is all about the grounding. He has got the grounding.
Leeds have found a way back in. Maguire, back it goes. Here is the
flick. Now it is McGuire, left-hand side. Gets ready to deliver the
pass. This way and that. Leeds really are in its no. Moving back to
within touching distance, 20 minutes still to play.
Westerman, across the line, DAX and pushers. Clark again. That might
just sealed it here tonight. It might be enough to give Warrington
their first win of the season. Stand and deliver. A matter of seconds to
play. Warrington on the verge of that important first win of the
season. A draw last week, it went tonight, and Declan pattern made
absolutely sure. They finally have a victory to celebrate. Warrington's
season is up and running. Any complaints about that? No,
Warrington were the better side on the night. The got themselves nine
repeat, ten more tackles, in management, that was phenomenal.
Credits to Warrington. We will ask about the Ben Westwood 's challenge,
was he lucky to only get sin-bin, could it have been red card? Yes, it
could have been a red card, when a player cannot protect himself, and
you are coming in at the head, I know his hand was not clenched, but
all he had to do was wrapped to arms around and it would have been fine.
I thought it deserved a red card. Discipline that it could be an
interesting one for him this week. Patton dropped out of the team for a
few weeks. He worked pretty well. He kicked that drop goal right at the
end. Every one of his kicks was on the money. When you are kicking four
tries, he got two of them, looking for drop outs and repeat sets. It
makes the game almost impossible. The one that energy battle. We need
to improve this week, our line speed needs to be better, to give
ourselves a chance. But credit to him, he has worked really well. How
much of a relief will baby for Warrington to finally get a win?
Yes, definitely. They cannot believe where they are. They will be very
relieved. They have that winning feeling back in the team. It has
helped them. He's the most competitive human being I've ever
come across. When you're playing darts, snooker, Monopoly, he's
really competitive and wants to win. He's racked up some tries, he's a
local lad, he has been great to play with. You've played with him and he
seems a gentleman as well. He's a lovely man. I think the first six
months where I didn't have a car, he picked me up every day and we got to
know each other pretty well. We still swap texts every now and then
and all the best for him. So, the busiest period of the season is
under way and here's how you can follow it on the BBC. Huddersfield
played Catalan on Wednesday and you can hear that on Five Live sports
extra from 7:30pm. There's a special edition of the Super League Show
1:30pm on Sunday with highlights of the first round of the Easter
matches. We're back the following day with highlights from bank
holiday Monday. Now a quick detour from the action,
and a big test for the Widnes forward Hep Cahill,
who takes his turn at set of six. Peanut butter, jam, honey, beans,
chocolate spread, steak and eggs. Pinetree, further tree. Manuka tree.
What other trees? That's it. Oh, no. I should know this, I've got two
daughters. Spice Girls. That is it! Castleford Tigers. Warrington
Wolves. Leeds Rhinos. Catalan Dragons. Wakefield Trinity Wildcats?
And... That's all I've got. Aeroplane, cloud, bird. The sun. The
moon. Stars. Six famous New Zealanders? Valerie
Adams, shot put. Jake Lomas, he's an actor. Sorry, it's gone.
The first time you've seen set of six, will you be ducking it when we
come round your place? Definitely come easy questions but it is hard
to be put on the spot. You'll be here until you've cleared the patch!
On a more serious note the Super League owners met last
week and agreed to lift the salary cap above ?2 million and have
introduced an additional marquee player rule.
Talent retention seems to be the driving force behind it all.
Jamie, what do the players make of it all?
I think it is great news for the players. Rising wages and it has
been a long time coming. It's been the same for 20 years, it has ever
gone up with inflation. It is great the game is progressing. The whole
place pit-mac point of it was to keep teams level. It's great that it
might bring more investors in to put cash in. We will bring top talent in
but you've got to ask whether it is good news for some of the smaller
teams because we don't want to see them suffer. Is it enough of a rise
to hang on to the stars of Super League and keep them awake from the
Rugby Union and the NRL? Not really but we do have a pretty good brand
over here. I think the way it's going at the moment, it's a
juggernaut, NRL, their TV deals but it is a step in the right direction.
But I'd be worried about the lower clubs, for myself. And the marquee
player rule, we need to see big stars, we need to see them brought
into the game and keep the ones we've got. I think so, we need to
retain the players from NRL but we've got to live within our means
as well because in the past clubs have been able to pay what they
want, subsequently they've gone downhill because of it which isn't
great for the game or the fans. You've got to be smart and it is a
welcome step in the right direction but let's build things and take time
and have patience with it. Wakefield and Widnes met on Friday,
both teams made the top eight last season, and Wakefield's form
suggests they might get there again, they started well
against Widnes Jamie. Certainly did. They've got some
great blunders. They are playing with confidence. They've got one of
the best motivators in the game. And it is showing for them in the pitch.
Widnes Vikings RNA rut but I'm sure they'll come out of it soon. What
have you been impressed with? I've been impressed that they play with
any chance they get, they are opportunistic. Dropped balls, hard
balls. Any chance, they'll play football. They will chase it around
and that is what I like about them. Did you see reflections of the time
when you were there when people had written them off and they really
came together? Definitely. There's something about that club. Anyone
who has ever played or ever played for them as a youth, they've enjoyed
every minute there. When I was there, we didn't have the biggest
gym, the nice money for the field but everyone enjoys their time there
so it must be some sort of culture there and it is present there
because I've spoken with a few of the players, I'm mates with them and
they're enjoying their time there. For Widnes, one of the worst
performances he has seen. Would you have expected them to be better
after the gutsy win last week? You'd think so. The physicality of it
isn't going to make it easier but we can't worry too much about the
position, just get things right within your group and develop the
trust and body. It will come for them but it needs to come sooner
rather than later. For Wakefield, five out of six wins, they have
costal foot but they'll go on with so much confidence now, won't they?
Definitely. It's local rivalry, a massive game. Very opportunistic,
they are, and Castleford like to throw the ball so anything could
happen. Good one to look forward to. Now, back in 2005,
the Leigh Centurions were playing their only previous
season in Super League, whilst the Catalan Dragons were just
a twinkle in the eye So, it was their first ever
Super League meeting on Friday. Good pressure here. It's going to be
a penalty. First blood, then. Reynolds through the uprights.
What can the Centurions do here? That is a slack pass! Not sure Brown
is going to catch Thornley. The Catalans first try of the evening,
Thornley with it. A chance maybe here... Wiliame! He's
scored, in for a second. A chance maybe for Inu, nice
footwork from the big number three. Myler making space and breaking
through. Anderson will score, one-way traffic for the Dragons at
the moment. Fast hands and opportunity, Myler
will be in! Wiliame sets him away. Reynolds gets clobbered. The ball is
popped out and it's gone out to Naughton! Hull FC Loney in the
corner, a lifeline! A chance maybe here, a chance to strike early!
Weston is over! That was cheeky! Gigot will be in.
The Catalans reaffirmed their advantage.
Naughton, ushered backwards by Anderson and others. Has he strayed
off the mark playing the ball? I think he has. Walsh. No mistake.
Good kick from Walsh. Centurions pressure, fast hands,
good breakthrough. Good support play, this. McNally will be in.
He pops it over, dots the eyes and crosses the Tees with that. Century
and is looking for a consolations. Hopkins turned on, Catalans turned
off. Leighton Centurions have the last laugh. How good feeling to get
back to winning ways for you guys? Definitely, we were feeling the
pressure there. The French, in the South of France, they love their
footy and their club. We were not producing all the time, so it was
good. You started the season so well and it looked a different Catalan
Dragons at the start of the season and then it dropped. Do you guys
know what was going on? No, not really! Obviously, you question
yourself, you question as a team whether you're doing the right
thing. In the end, it comes down to the players. And I think we needed
to work on those little things that we needed to. We've got to work on
ourselves and not worry about the opposition. So much made of Burton,
did you feel their loss a bit too much? Have you got used to him not
being fair? He's definitely a big loss for us because he's a big part
of the team, he's a leader in our team and we definitely missed.
Saying that, we had other players come in and we won during the
weekend without him, so I think we can continue that and he can come in
and be the icing on the cake. How do you see the relationship with Walsh
and Myler developing? Very well. Walsh has been great for us. He's a
cool cucumber. He's got a wealth of experience and a very skilful player
and a great addition to the team. Three defeats in a row for century
and is, do you see some 30? You're back in Super League, they started
so well. They pride themselves on winning and it is a big win for
Catalans. My mum 's got a house in the South of France, so they are
like my second team and it's a national institution, the Rugby
League down there so when you go to Catalan, you've got to be prepared
for it to be tough. Historically, they've got wins away. To pull off
this victory is a good result. You guys are staying over which is why
you've managed to be in the studio today. How nice is it to stay put
for a while? It's great, last season we came back and forth. It takes it
out of you, the flight, even though we land, we get a jet, and we go on
and off. They can Raja rears good, and off. They can Raja rears good,
the bonding you get. It's a cliche but it is. You do get the bonding
and its been great. We're lucky to have you.
So, as we head towards the Easter weekend, let's get a check
Warrington's first win of the season move them off the bottom where they
are replaced by Widnes. That's it for now, don't forget
to join us on Easter Sunday at 1:30pm in the afternoon
for highlights from the first round of Easter matches,
we'll see you then. HORN BEEPS
THAT car. John! John, you've got blood
all over your pants! Come here. Urgh, I've all spit on them now,
haven't I? Leave it,
I'll get it off in the bogs! This programme is what the
BBC calls a special. That means I've splashed out on
a new bra. Celebrate one of Britain's
greatest comedy heroes. Hello. If it's your first
holiday of the year, I suppose the weather for the rest of the weekend
into Easter is very important.
Highlights from the latest round of matches in the Super League. Two of the competition's top teams in 2017 go head to head as Wigan take on Castleford at the DW Stadium. Both sides made an impressive start to the year, playing some thrilling rugby league as they each won their opening four matches, and their first meeting of 2017 promises to be a classic contest. Warrington will be looking to climb away from the bottom part of the table when they take on Leeds. Warrington scored over 50 points in the corresponding fixture last season, but the form of both teams has been very different this year. The Wolves lost their opening six matches, whilst Leeds have been challenging towards the top of the table. Hull FC are at home to Salford and St Helens play Huddersfield. Leigh Centurions look to continue their solid start to the season when they take on Catalans, and Wakefield are at home to Widnes.