Catalans Dragons v Doncaster RLFC: Dons set for historic Challenge Cup tie
Doncaster RLFC will make history on Saturday in their Coral Challenge Cup sixth round tie at the Stade Gilbert Brutas when they tackle Catalans Dragons for the first time.
It will be the French side’s first game in the competition since beating Super League rivals Warrington Wolves in the final at Wembley last August.
“They’ll obviously be looking to try and defend the trophy and we are under no illusions about how tough it is going to be over there,” said head coach Richard Horne, a winner with Hull FC in 2005.
“We’ve made it clear that our number one priority this season is promotion but we still want to give a good account of ourselves against Catalans.
“We’ll be without our loan and dual-registered players but we’ll have Sam Doherty, Connor Scott and Jordie Hedges (who could face a late test on a hamstring problem) back.
“Brad England is back in training and not far off but he hasn’t played all season so we won’t be risking him but we are hoping to have him back for the game at London Skolars next weekend.”
Catalans climbed to fourth in the Super League table following their 37-6 win at Hull FC, who were third, last Friday.
“Hull weren’t very good on the night though they lacked some key players and had some busted bodies out there which didn’t help, but Catalans played well,” said Horne - a member of the Hull coaching staff.
Horne knows the history of the Challenge Cup is littered with upsets and would love the Dons to add to that list but he is not making any rash predictions or putting pressure on his players.
“If we can stay with them in the first 20-25 minutes I’ll be really happy because whatever happens after that I know the boys will have had a really good go,” he said.
“If we do end up getting well beaten – and I am not saying we will - part of the reason will be the fact that they are a full-time Super League outfit who have spent a lot of money and have a lot of very good players from all over the world.
“I would imagine that they will rest some players but they’ve got a lot of strength in depth so whoever plays we’ve got a big task on our hands.”