Catleford Tigers: Cas pack are confident of meeting massive Saints test

Andy Lynch
Andy Lynch
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Friday’s visit of table-topping St Helens is a building block for Castleford Tigers, says pack leader Andy Lynch.

friday’s visit of table-topping St Helens is a building block for Castleford Tigers, says pack leader Andy Lynch.

Going into round eight, unbeaten Saints are just one place and two points clear of Tigers in First Utility Super League.

A win by nine points or more would see Tigers climb into pole position and, according to Lynch, prove they are more than a “flash in the pan” this year.

“Who would have thought Cas would have six wins from seven games?” asked Lynch.

“Friday is a game we are looking forward to. Top spot is a big carrot and it is definitely an achieveable goal.”

With a home clash against Kingstone Press Championship outfit Sheffield Eagles looming in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, Cas are favourites to reach at least the last-eight in that competition, but Lynch insisted they need to focus on one game at a time.

“We aren’t looking too far ahead,” he stressed. “We have got a home draw in the Challenge Cup, which is all you can ask for but we are going to take it little blocks at a time.

“Saints is the next obstacle in our way and we will be striving hard to get a result. When we played Wigan, we said it was a sort of stepping stone and we came through that.

“Saints are seven from seven and we are six from seven, so it is going to be a massive game to see whereabouts we are at this time of year.

“It is a tough task for us but one we are looking forward to and it is a match we can definitely win.”

Saints have a massive pack but Lynch is convinced Tigers’ forwards can meet them head-on and he hailed the contribution of his front-row colleague Craig Huby to the flying start.

“Chubbs is in great form,” said Lynch. “He is a big reason why we are going so well, with him leading us from the front. We have got a squad now that can challenge week in and week out; we’ve got competition for places and that keeps everyone on their toes.”

Now in his testimonial year, Lynch, 34, began his career at Tigers in 1999 and spent six seasons in the first-team squad before joining Bradford Bulls in 2005. He moved to Hull for the 2012 season and after two terms in East Yorkshire feels his move back to MAH Jungle has provided a new lease of life.

“It is great to be back at Cas and it feels like I am 19 again, when I started,” he said.

“There’s been a few changes around the place, licks of paint here and there, but the atmosphere’s still great, the fans are great and with the way Danny (Orr) and Powelly (coach Daryl Powell) are coaching us at the moment, it is going really well.

“I am happy with my own form, but there is always room for improvement and we are going to have to go up by 10 per cent this week against Saints.”

The 1999 team reached the semi-finals of both the Challenge Cup and the Super League play-offs and asked whether the current Castleford side is the best he has played in, Lynch admitted: “That’s a tough one. That 1999 team is going to be a hard one to beat: Danny Orr, Adrian Vowles, Aaron Raper, Dale Fritz, Dean Sampson, Michael Eagar...

“Back in 1999 I was a young lad and when I came into the first team squad it was a matter of when am I ever going to get a game, with Dean Sampson, Nathan Sykes and Ian Tonks in front of me.

“Now it’s the other side of the coin and I am one of the senior guys. It is a bit different but I’ll be able to answer that after 27 rounds.”

Lois Forsell. PIC: Leeds Rhinos RLFC

Women’s RL: Leeds Rhinos 40 Castleford Tigers 12