Half-back concern for Castleford Tigers ahead for derby showdown with Leeds Rhinos

Castleford Tigers half-back Danny Richardson is racing against time to be fit for Friday’s clash with Leeds Rhinos.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 11:35 am

Richardson missed the 21-12 win over Warrington Wolves in Betfred Super League round one two days ago and Gareth O’Brien, who started at scrum-half, suffered concussion which will keep him out of this week’s game, to be played at St Helens.

If Richardson is again sidelined, hooker Paul McShane could have to continue as an emergency half-back after stepping in against Warrington when O’Brien went off.

“Danny injured a wrist three or four weeks ago and he has been in a cast,” Tigers coach Daryl Powell reported.

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Jake Trueman. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“He is just coming out of that now and we made a decision he wasn’t quite ready [for last Sunday].

“Gaz [O’Brien] has had a full pre-season, he played well in the friendly against Hull KR and I thought he backed that up with the way he played [against Warrington].

“Danny will play a massive part for us this year, as will Gaz. It is my job to make sure they both get fitted in where they need to fit in.”

Until Richardson is given the all-clear, Jake Trueman is Tigers’ only fully-fit specialist half-back.

Gareth O'Brien will miss derby with Leeds after being injured against Warrington. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

He had an outstanding game against Warrington and Powell reckons the stand-off is on course for a big year.

“He is a class player,” he said. “He can run the ball, he is a great defender and his short kicking game [on Sunday], in tough, windy conditions was exceptional. He is a class kid, there’s no doubt about that.

“He can play the game, he had to steer the ship around with Macca - who did a great job - but he was our only half and I thought he was awesome.”

Trueman, 22, struggled with a back injury last year, but Powell said: “I think he came back a little bit more mature in pre-season.

“I think that’s important for a half-back, you are starting to see him mature as a half-back with his game and the decisions he makes.

“He doesn’t look for the big plays too often, he knows when to pass and when to run.

“There’s a World Cup at the end of the year, he will want to be in contention for that and I think he has started off in a great way.”