Kingstone Press Championship 1 Previews

Date published: Thursday, April 11, 2013

Saturday April 13

Oxford v South Wales Scorpions (2.30pm)

Brett Robinson (hamstring), Lucas Onyango (knee) and JJ Baird (back) are all missing for Oxford ahead of their historic first home league match.

Coach Tony Benson said: “There’s been a lot of interest in and around the town, and we’re excited about playing at our own ground.

“It’s all exciting and new at this stage – we don’t feel any pressure just yet.

“But having said that, the Scorpions are pretty strong and Dave Clark does a good job them, so they’re always going to be formidable opponents.”

Jack Pring, Rhodri Lloyd and James Tutuila are all available for South Wales Scorpions.

Clark said: “Oxford have had a good start to the season; they beat Gloucestershire All Golds and did OK against Halifax last week as well.

“They’ve got some attacking ability and they’ll ask a lot of questions of us defensively.

“However, we’re moving forward all the time and, despite defeats in the last couple of weeks, the confidence is growing in the squad and we’re getting better week by week.”

Sunday April 14

University of Gloucestershire All Golds v Oldham (3pm)

Our game against the All Golds in Cheltenham will be previewed separately and in more detail tomorrow (Friday)

Hemel Stags v Gateshead Thunder (3.00pm)

Hemel coach Troy Perkins has warned his players of the need for concentration ahead of Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship One fixture with Gateshead.

The Stags beat London Skolars in their first semi-professional league game a fortnight ago.

But Perkins said: “We’ve got to keep our feet firmly on the ground and make sure we’re focused on the job ahead.

“One game doesn’t make a season, and I’ve kept reminding the boys about that. Our focus is to do well in the league and keep our intensity week after week.”

Perkins will have a fully fit squad for Sunday’s match, while Gateshead coach Kevin Neighbour is likely to make changes after last week’s 72-0 reverse against Batley in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.

Neighbour said: “I’ve sat down and had a talk with some of the players, because our attitude was off against Batley.”

He added: “I’ve had chance to watch Hemel a couple of times, so we know where their strengths and weaknesses lie.”

North Wales Crusaders v London Skolars (2.30pm)

North Wales Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths has a fully fit squad as he attempts to maintain the club’s 100 per cent record in 2013.

But Griffiths insists his players will not underestimate any opposition they face – including London.

Griffiths said: “Any sport has got the habit of biting you on the backside when you think you’re going well. The more you win, the closer you are to your next defeat – but it’s nice to be in the position we’re in.

“To be unbeaten at this stage is a massive boost for us and has really lifted our confidence.”

Skolars coach Joe Mbu has no new injury concerns for Sunday’s trip to Wrexham.

Mbu said: “The last time we went there they showed how tough they are, and they’ve recruited well again this year.

“The main thing for us is getting that consistency in our performance. We don’t want to peak one week and then be down the next week.”