Doncaster RLFC v Whitehaven: Build-up as Dons prepare to face League One leaders
Doncaster RLFC face a must-win game against leaders Whitehaven at Featherstone’s LD Nutrition Stadium on Sunday (3pm).
The fourth-placed Dons, who have much better points difference, would close the gap on the Cumbrians to just three points with five games to go were they to take the spoils whereas defeat would effectively end their outside hopes of automatic promotion.
“The players know that it is a massive game and they are up for the challenge,” said Dons assistant boss Pete Green.
“They beat us at home at the start of the campaign but we produced arguably our worst performance of the season on the day in the wet conditions.
“I don’t think that there is a great deal of difference between the two teams. What they have done better than us is to grind out results.
“They are a big physical side and their back three, though probably not the most skilful, return the ball hard and help put the team on the front foot.
“We’ve got to match their physicality but at the same time not allow ourselves to get dragged into their game. We always look a better side when we move the ball.”
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With Watson Boas ruled out with a hamstring injury for the next month or so, former England international stand-off Rangi Chase makes his debut the day following the end of his two-year drugs ban.
“Rangi has been training with us since May but this is the first week that he has gone through all the moves with (scrum-half) Matty Beharrell,” said Green.
“There will be a lot of pressure on Rangi after being out for so long, especially with it being such an important match, but that’s not something that will phase him with all his experience.
“We know that it will take him a little time to get up to speed and fit into the team but his availability has also come at a good time with Watson and Jordan Howden both out injured.
“Hopefully he will get through the game but we have options if we want to make changes.”
Prop Russ Spiers starts a two-match ban and Menzie Yere has returned to injury-hit parent club Sheffield Eagles.