Castleford Tigers will keep eye on the ball for return

Weller Hauraki
Weller Hauraki
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CELEBRATIONS over, Castleford Tigers have set their sights on a second win at DW Stadium inside a week.

Tigers will return to Wigan on Friday, just six days after their stunning 16-4 victory in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup sixth round.

There is another huge prize on offer this week, with Tigers sitting third in First Utility Super League, just one place and two points clear of Wigan.

Second-row forward Weller Hauraki said there is no danger of Tigers taking their eye off the ball, with two months to go until their Cup semi-final meeting with Widnes Vikings.

“The way the coaching staff are motivating us, they will do a good job on keeping our feet on the ground,” stressed Hauraki.

“We will be concentrating on the league. Daryl (Powell, Tigers’ head coach) does a good job and he will keep us focused on the job at hand. We will be ready for Friday.”

Castleford will be bidding for a fourth successive victory over Wigan and third in as many visits to the reigning league and cup champions’ home ground.

Hauraki said the victory last Saturday has given them a fresh injection of confidence for the second half of a campaign which has already seen Tigers comfortably surpass expectations.

“It is up there with the best wins I’ve been in,” he said of the Challenge Cup success. “I think the boys will remember it for a while.

“I don’t think it proves anything, but beating the team who were the champions last year is a real big deal for us.

“We know when we do play well we can beat any team and if we do the double on them this week that will be a great achievement.

“We have got a goal for what we want to achieve in the league. We want to go there on Friday – as individuals and as a team – and beat them again.

“They will be really disappointed from last week, but we played well and did what we needed.”

Tigers have won 14 of their 18 competitive games this year, compared with nine victories from 28 games in 2013.

Hauraki joined Tigers at the start of last season after two years at Leeds Rhinos. He began his Super League career at Welsh outfit Crusaders and feels he is now playing the best rugby of his time in the European game.

“At the end of last year I had some good form,” he said. “But I think with the way the boys are playing at the moment I am playing consistent footy and that’s what I wanted to do.

“I want to be consistent and do the same job every week. I am just happy that we are winning and going well.

“It is good to be part of this team. We had one of the Cas legends – Tony Marchant – come in and talk to us last Friday.

“Just listening to him made us want to go out straight away and play,” continued Hauraki.

“You want to be in that sort of form and do it for them and the fans, who have been awesome this year.

“All the boys really appreciate what they’ve done.”

Meanwhile, Powell said Tigers will return to Wigan in up-beat mood after their Cup performance.

The 16-4 Cup win followed an 18-4 victory in the league last June and Powell said: “The confidence is there and we genuinely think we can compete in every game we go into.

“That has been proved so far this season. We haven’t won anything yet so we don’t want to get carried away, but I think what we did last week cements us as a genuine team.”

Castleford Tigers coach, Daryl Powell. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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