Coach's joy at Challenge Cup draw
LEIGH Centurions will face Leeds Rhinos in their first venture into the Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter finals for seven years.
Head coach Paul Rowley is extremely happy with the draw that pits the five-time Super League winners against his brave Championship side.
“It’s like if you went down to Accrington Stanley and said you can play any team tat your ground, they would pick Brazil,” he said.
“We've got the Super League and World Club champions. We've got to take this opportunity with both hands as a club and a town.
“The club has a responsibility and so have the town and businesses in the local area to come out in force and mark the occasion.
“It's a special occasion – the world champions are in town against our part-time lads who graft day in, day out and then come to train, but have earned a shot and a day on the big stage.
“We need to support it well and do the lads justice by turning up and supporting the boys in numbers.”
It is back to league action for the Centurions as they travel east to take on Sheffield Eagles at Don Valley Stadium on Sunday, kick off 3pm.
And they go there on the back of the 19-18 cup heroics against Halifax.
Rowley was pleased with the standard and intensity of the game.
“No-one could call it before and we just pipped them in the end,” he said.
“It was two very even sides, played in old fashioned conditions.
“In some terrible conditions for both sides, to have 80 per cent completion rates is phenomenal.
“Both teams played expansive rugby when needed, the contact in the challenges was tough and physical. The quality of the game was exceptional. We had a good crowd singing us on and we finished strongly.”
Leigh threw away a 22-0 advantage against Sheffield in a Northern Rail Cup game in February but he feels lessons have been learned from that day.
“We had a real tussle there earlier this year,” he said.
“One thing Sheffield do well this year is score a lot of points – their attacking game is good, but they also leak some tries as well.
“There are plenty of opportunities and we are not in a particular mood to start dropping points or fade away in our consistency just yet. We are pretty bouyant going there on the back of two terrific wins.”
Sadly for Centurions, skipper and fulcrum John Duffy looks set to be sat on the touchlines for a month after picking up an injury onSunday, although Anthony Nicholson is likely to come back into the frame.
He said: “Other people will have to dig in and everyone will have to step up their game because we will start to understand what influence John has on this team – it’s a big one!
“We are still confident, we've got a squad and we have players that are biting to have a go.”
In other news the Centurions under 18s development squad kicked off their short season with a 44-30 defeat of Keighley last week.
Half backs Josh Ward (one try, six goals) and Dan Horridge (hat-trick) impressed, as did winger Jordan Houghton (two tries).