Rugby League match preview: South Wales Scorpions v London Skolars
South Wales Scorpions have a fully fit squad for the visit of old rivals London Skolars to The Gnoll in Neath this Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
A big match for the Scorpions, they know that a win is essential to remain in the automatic promotion race if they are to keep tabs on the top four in the division.
Scorpions coach Dave Clark could include new signing Ben Gilbert just days after the Australian three-quarter or stand-off landed in the UK.
Gilbert, a former Balmain Tigers, Manly Sea Eagles and Penrith Panthers junior has been playing local Rugby League in the New South Wales Central Coast League with Umina Bunnies and he has made his way over to Wales after contacting the Scorpions asking for a trial.
The 22-year old has a British passport so won’t go on any overseas quotas at the Scorpions.
Clark is surveying his performance in training this week before making any decisions as to his selection in the side to face the Skolars.
Clark said: “This is a massive game for us. Other teams above us are playing against each other, and it’s really important that we have a good performance if we want to get into the top six.
“There are only nine games left now, and from here on every game is important.
“Skolars have quite a big pack. They like to dominate with their forwards and bully sides. They’ve been a bit inconsistent – much like us – but they’ve had a couple of wins and they’ve obviously improved from the last few years.”
The Scorpions lost to the Skolars in their Northern Rail Cup outing in pre-season but have yet to play them in the league after their encounter in May was called off due to an unsafe pitch in London. That game has now been rescheduled for Sunday 29th July at 2pm.
“We were disappointed not to play them before,” Clark said. “It means that we are a game behind most of the rest and we were confident that day that we would have collected a win as we were in good form.
“But we have been playing well recently. We had a poor second half against Whitehaven but had two good wins before that. Everyone, including a lot of newcomers, enjoyed our last home game against Rochdale that we won 32-30.
“We’ve a schools tournament before our game and when those youngsters stay around to cheer us on afterwards, hopefully we’ll pick up a whole load of new fans then too.”
Skolars’ dual-registration signing Sam Bolger could make his first start for the club after appearing off the bench in the club’s 44-12 defeat against Workington.
Admission to the match costs just £12 for adults, £7 for concessions, £3 for juniors aged 12 to 15 and free for those aged 11 and under. Summer Season Tickets costing £40, £20 and £10 and covering Scorpions’ last five games of the season are available at www.scorpionsrl.com.
South Wales Scorpions’ junior sides kick the weekend off. They are all in action this Saturday in a triple header of matches at Caerphilly RFC.
The action starts at midday when the under 15s take on the new Midlands Academy side playing in their first season of Rugby League.
Unconnected to a professional club, the Midlands outfit are working hard to develop Rugby League in that area of England and are fielding representative sides against professional clubs at junior levels only in this their inaugural year.
The under 16s also take on Midlands at 1.45pm before the under 18s face Sheffield Eagles at 3pm.
Admission to the whole event at Caerphilly is £3 for adults, £1 for juniors and concessions.