iPro Cup Quarter Final previews

Keighley Cougars v Oxford RLFC (Sunday, 3pm)

Keighley Cougars were 24-16 winners at Hunslet last week and, reflecting on the game, coach Paul March said: “We’ve always be unified and the lads come into every game with a positive attitude but the lads bounced back from a disappointing two weeks.

“The second shows that we have let a few tries in but we’ll continue to work on that lapse in composure and not to force the play.

But the former player-coach had a message for his side’s critics ahead of this weekend’s game.

“The lads don’t believe it but if the negativity and the comments keep coming (from fans) then eventually over time, people will start to believe it, but we haven’t become a bad side overnight and we showed that we still are one of the favourites for promotion.”

Oxford meanwhile have lost three from three in League 1 this season with their latest defeat coming as a shock as struggling South Wales picked up a 38-20 win on the road.

Head Coach Tim Rumford sees his side sitting 13th in the 15-team table and will be looking for an improvement on their last trip to Keighley which saw a 44-14 defeat at Cougar Park last season, as they go in search of a semi-final spot in Rugby League’s newest professional cup competition.

Rochdale Hornets v York City Knights (Sunday, 3pm)

Two unbeaten sides come together as Rochdale Hornets welcome York City Knights to Spotland on in the quarter-finals of the iPro Sport Cup.

Buoyant Hornets’ assistant coach Paul Berry said: “There aren’t many teams that will go to North Wales and put 42 points on Crusaders.

“They are a very good team and the win was very pleasing. It was a tough one for our boys and we’re really looking forward to the next challenge in the League One Cup.”

York outclassed Doncaster away from home last time out, piling on the points in a stunning 46-16 win at the Keepmoat.

And Head Coach James Ford has seen side bolstered by two new additions this week in the shape of former Featherstone forward Matty Dale and Hull FC loanee Ross Osbourne.

Commenting on the arrivals, he said: “I really appreciate the backing I’ve got from the board to allow us to bring in players of their calibre.

“But we need to give them a bit of time to get to know players and systems rather than throw them in.

“We want to give them as good an opportunity as possible but we know they will add something positive to what we’ve got in the wider squad ahead of the Rochdale game.”

Doncaster RLFC v London Skolars (Sunday, 3pm)

Doncaster RLFC slipped to an alarming 42-12 defeat at home to York last time out and coach Gary Thornton admitted: “We’re in a bit of a slump.

“We’ve had two really poor games and we need to put that behind us now.

“It’s a big cup game for us but we’re at home again and we should have a couple of bodies back.

“We’ve had a lot of good players sat in the stands unfortunately.

“There’s been eight or nine players out, they’ll come in and make a big difference for us going forward.”

London Skolars meanwhile are showing much early promise in 2016 and sit sixth in the table, ahead of likes of their hosts on Sunday and Hunslet, after a 38-12 win at Hemel last week.

Skolars chief Jermaine Coleman said: “We made it clear at the start of the year we expected to be competing for trophies. This weekend gives us a chance to do that, but it will only happen if we perform at our best.

“We’ve been looking to right the wrongs of what we did against Hemel. The players have responded very well showing energy and enthusiasm across our training sessions.

“The work we’ve done will hopefully give us a performance that will give us a good chance to win.”

University of Gloucestershire All Golds v Newcastle Thunder (Sunday, 3pm)

Reflecting on his side’s 29-28 home loss to Coventry Bears, University of Gloucestershire All Golds chief Lee Greenwood reflected:“As disappointing as were on Friday, we have to give credit to Coventry.

“They played a much smarter game than us and fully deserved their victory. We need to start performing better ourselves and we hope that starts on Sunday.”

Looking to this weekend’s cup tie with Newcastle, he added: “I watched Newcastle play at Siddal last month but they have improved immensely since then.

“They have experienced players mixed in with some overseas players and they have now partnered with Huddersfield Giants. It gives them a much bigger squad than us but the 17 that take the field for us will be looking to win and be in the hat for the semi final draw of the iPro Sport Cup.”

In the away camp, Newcastle Thunder face a huge trip down to the south west and Mick Mantelli said: “We’ve got a couple of blokes who I think need resting, so I think that will give an opportunity to a couple of blokes who haven’t played yet and who we will have a look at.

“This gives me a chance to get a good look at them against some decent opposition and put themselves forward and show how they have come along.

“We’re going down and back in one day which will be a tough assignment, but at the same time, they are coming off the back of three games in nine days.

“We’ll put in place things on the way down that will give us our best chance of getting a good result. We still plan on being very competitive though and will be looking to try and win the game.”