Category: Rugby

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 26-12 Widnes Vikings

Salford Red Devils returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion after twice coming from behind to earn a crucial 26-12 victory over Widnes Vikings at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Two tries from Kris Welham alongside further scores from Jake Bibby, Robert Lui and on-loan Widnes man Greg Burke helped secure two valuable Betfred Super League points.
The Red Devils headed into the tie on the back of a disappointing defeat at Hull six days prior, and Ian Watson’s men looked on course for another loss this time out when Tom Gilmore dived over in the 5th minute.
Jay Chapelhow’s break helped kickstart the move, before Joe Mellor’s grubber kick bounced over the top of Ryan Lannon to allow Gilmore to ground the ball.
Half-back Gilmore then converted his own effort, but it was Salford who’d score next as Welham blocked Gilmore’s kick with his leg, before reacting quickest to scoop up the loose ball and dart 40m to cross for a stunning individual effort.
Lui’s conversion landed narrowly wide as the hosts grew in frustration. Soon after, Bibby was denied a try as referee James Child chalked the score off following a knock on from Jack Littlejohn.
Salford weren’t to be undone for long though, less than five minutes later Welham grabbed his second, and 150th career try, as some quick hands from Littlejohn and Lui permitted the centre to jink his way over the whitewash.
Unfortunately for Salford, Lui struck the post from his goal attempt and the mood around the AJ Bell dampened quickly as Welham was controversially sent to the sin-bin, before Jake Shorrocks left the field after suffering a suspected fractured jaw.
Less than a minute later, the visitors regained their lead as the heavily involved Gilmore collected a high ball before cleverly picking out the unmarked Patrick Ah Van who had the simple task of touching down.
Gilmore landed the resulting goal in what proved to be the final point scoring action of the half.
Salford have endured a tough time in recent weeks and despite losing another key player, in the form of Tyrone McCarthy through a hamstring injury, the Red Devils dug in and managed to claw themselves back into the tie ten minutes after the break.
After a free-flowing move saw the ball find its way out wide, Littlejohn forged the gap for Bibby to emphatically finish in the right-hand corner.
Lui was unable to convert the resulting goal but Salford weren’t to be denied as Widnes loanee and debutant, Burke, haunted his parent club after collecting a short ball from Logan Tomkins, before surging over under the sticks.
Lui then added the extras and a late penalty to extend Salford’s lead to 8 points before things quickly turned sour for the visiting Vikings.
First, loose-forward Chris Houston was sent to the sin-bin following a high challenge on Burke, before then being shown the red-card for dissent as he left the field.
Salford would have the final say though as Lui charged down a Widnes kick before racing 70m to score and complete a stunning comeback and all-round team performance.
Salford Lineup: Littlejohn, Olpherts, Welham, Sa’u, Bibby, Lui, Shorrocks, Tasi, Wood, Burke, McCarthy, Griffin, Lannon.
Interchanges: Kopczak, Tomkins, Nakubuwai, Chamberlain.
Widnes Lineup: Craven, Ah Van, Runciman, Norman, Ince, Mellor, Gilmore, J. Chapelhow, Johnstone, E. Chapelhow, Whitley, Hauraki, Houston.
Interchanges: Gerrard, Olbison, Heremaia, Farnworth.
Salford Scorers: Tries- Welham (11’, 15’), Bibby (50’), Burke (61’), Lui (77’). | Goals- Lui (62’, 68’, 78’).
Widnes Scorers: Tries- Gilmore (5’), Ah Van (24’) | Goals- Gilmore (6’, 25’).
Man of the Match: Robert Lui.
Attendance: 2248.
Referee: James Child. Touch Judges: Scott Mikalauskas & Liam Moore. Video Referee: Robert Hicks.

Ian Watson | “It will definitely be a battle out there”

For the first time in several weeks, the Salford Red Devils will be taking the field, on Thursday, against a team, which, like ourselves, is coming into it on the back of a run of defeats, in an encounter of which the outcome has become quite crucial, as Head Coach, Ian Watson, readily acknowledges.
“It will definitely be a battle out there, because both teams will desperate to get the points, and there is no denying that Widnes are a really good team.”
The recent exchange of players between the two clubs will also bring some added interest, with Salford seemingly benefitting from a two for one increase in their playing roster.
“We’ve got two young, quality British players, with bags of potential. Unfortunately, Widnes would only allow us to have them if we swapped Weller in exchange, and he was agreeable to the move himself, so the deal went ahead.
“Ed Chamberlain is a right centre but can also play wing and fullback, has good footwork and skill with ball in hand, and reads the game very well, both in defence and on attack. In many respects he is like Kris Welham who has been outstanding for us recently, with his work ethic.
“Greg has had a lot of Super League experience, with both Wigan, Hull KR, and Widnes. He is extremely good at working for the team off the ball, has a robust style of play, and a good offload which will bring an additional dimension to our attack.
“One, or possibly both of them, will be involved in Thursday’s match.”
With a run of defeats behind them, however, confidence for both teams may well be starting to diminish.
“Although that is a factor for us, it is only a small one because for large parts of games we are doing the right things but are just not keeping them going consistently, throughout.
“Against Hull, for example, we contained Hull in their own half for long periods of the second half, but then on the one opportunity we let them out, they scored.”
Looking back over that game, it becomes evident, on reflection, just how much luck was against the Salford players, with Craig Kopczak, for example, being prevented from scoring, not by the Hull defence but by the goalpost. In addition, earlier, on their first foray into the home side’s twenty metre area, a well-intentioned, and in fact well-executed, pass, which should have led to the opening of the Red Devils’ account, was intercepted in an almost perfect replication of Wigan, and former England captain, Sean O’Loughlin’s intercepted pass twenty-four hours earlier, at Wakefield.
“That’s the sort of thing that seems to happen, when you are playing away from home. The bounce of the ball goes against you, and fifty-fifty calls appear more difficult to come by, though we really have been our own worst enemy at times.”
It, nevertheless, had been a game of two halves with the visitors commanding possession, and field position, for the second forty, and outscoring their hosts in that period.
“We looked more like ourselves in that second half, and the only things which did go amiss were the odd, technical, little things, which, in comparison to the errors of the first half, are easy to fix. What has been really hurting us is that in virtually every game we have been having to do over a hundred tackles more than the opposition, as a result of our own errors in possession.
“All this extra tackling leads to fatigue, which in turn leads to a loss of concentration, and so teams have then been able to catch us with scores on the last play, which then affects confidence.”
The second half turn around, it must be hoped, could be the portender of further improved performances to come, and the continuation of that second half form, at Hull, would be most welcome from the start, for Thursday’s televised encounter.
“Hopefully that will have picked up their confidence, because not only might it have put them on the right path, it also brings with it the belief in our systems and processes.
“Any pressure we might feel to be under for this next match is only what we are putting on ourselves. If we can eradicate the inconsistencies in our recent games, the pressure will quickly be lifted.”
The loss of fullback, Niall Evalds, for a number of matches, was undoubtedly a setback which the club as a whole could have done without, but Ian’s policy of recruiting players who can turn their hand to more than one position came up trumps again, last week, with Jack Littlejohn taking up the fullback role, and looking completely at home there.
“Jack did very well, particularly considering that his only previous experience there, had been a couple of games, maximum, at Sydney Roosters at U20s level. The good thing about him though is he is ‘rugby smart’, and really understands the game, so he picked up all the pointers we put his way, really quickly.
“The fact that he was a halfback moving to that position also gave us back some of the elements we had lost when Gareth O’Brien left, and so our wingers scored a couple of tries for the first time in quite a while. Hopefully we can build on that over the coming weeks.”

Super League | Red Devils support new Super League CEO Robert Elstone

Salford Red Devils would like to make its position clear following yesterday’s Super League Europe press conference introducing new CEO Robert Elstone.
Salford are supportive of the Super League’s new initiatives and indeed support all positive change at the elite level of our sport.
It is the view of the Club that Super League must adapt to the rapidly moving sporting landscape in order to increase its awareness and revenues and to remain competitive.
It is crucial however that stakeholders at all levels benefit from the growth in the sport and this can only be achieved by working in a collaborative and professional manner.
This Thursday evening sees the first game in the Betfred Super League since Super’s League’s structural changes were announced, as the Red Devils look to get back to winning ways against Widnes Vikings.

Super League | Robert Elstone meets the media

New Super League Chief Executive, Robert Elstone, said the competition has something special to build on as he met the media for the first time today.
Elstone started as the new CEO for the Betfred Super League last week and spoke at a press conference at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, home of Warrington Wolves.
The former Everton Chief Executive, who has a wealth of experience in sporting organisations, said:
“When I met all the clubs for the first time three or four weeks ago, I started by thanking them for putting their trust in me. This is the job I’ve always wanted. It might have been the only job that took me away from a great football club like Everton. It’s a job I’m honoured to hold and a job I’m excited to fulfill.
“From the first day I could really understand it, I’ve loved this sport; what it stands for and what it’s all about. I have sold its virtues and defended its name to anyone and everyone prepared to listen. And plenty didn’t, particularly when you’ve spent most of your life in Barnsley and Bramhall.
“In my impressionable teenage years, two teams inspired me; Malcolm Reilly’s Castleford team of the mid-late 70s and of course, the 1982 Kangaroos. I had the good fortune to be a student in Hull at the time and the Kangaroos were the reason, three months after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, that I travelled to Sydney, put my career on hold, and went on a two-year tour of Australian Rugby League. On the way home, I cut short a round the world trip to get back to Cas for their game against the 1990 tourists.
“People will challenge me to define my vision for Super League. I don’t find that difficult. We all want, and we all need, a vibrant, sustainable, competitive and compelling Super League, one that sits at the heart of our communities, one that brings communities together, one that makes fans of our game proud.
“The challenge is how we achieve that. That’s about leadership, unity, and a committed and focused group of people who will roll their sleeves up and make things happen. It’s also about being positive and realising we have something special in our clubs, our fans, our players and the game we play.
“The job starts by establishing a positive working relationship with the RFL that respects Super League’s responsibility to the whole game, and challenges the RFL to provide the highest standards of governance for Super League.
“It quickly looks at replacing a competition format that isn’t working. That’s creating too much uncertainty for clubs and fans.
“It then focuses very clearly what matters, on growth; bringing in and retaining new fans; bringing in and retaining new partners; rewarding the fans and partners that come with us. Our biggest priority has to be to better fill our stadia.
“When at last year’s Man of Steel, Fred Done says we are the best sport he’s worked with; when Air Commodore Dean Andrew says our players are the closest athletes he’s ever met to his elite soldiers; when Scott Quinnell at the end of Magic says, ‘I love these people’, we have something special to build on.”

Squad | Ian Watson names his 19-man squad to take on Widnes

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad for the visit of Widnes Vikings on Thursday 14th June, 19:45pm kick-off. 
Both Ed Chamberlain and Greg Burke are in line to make their first team debuts for the Red Devils against parent club Widnes Vikings.
Gavin Bennion – who debuted for the Red Devils earlier in the season against Wigan Warriors – comes into the 19-man squad for Thursday’s game.
Mark Flanagan misses out after failing a concussion assessment following a collision with Hull FC winger Bureta Faraimo in last Friday’s game at the KCOM Stadium. Josh Jones is also absent with an ankle issue.
The squad in full is as follows:
Greg Johnson, Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Robert Lui, Jack Littlejohn, Craig Kopczak, Logan Tomkins, George Griffin, Lama Tasi, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Jake Bibby, Daniel Murray, Gavin Bennion, Jake Shorrocks, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke.
You can purchase tickets for our massive Betfred Super League clash with Widnes Vikings on Thursday at the AJ Bell Stadium at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online here!
#StandTogether with the Red Devils!

Squad | Levy Nzoungou joins Swinton on loan

Salford Red Devils forward Levy Nzoungou has joined Betfred Championship side Swinton Lions on a one-month loan deal. 
Nzoungou has spent time on loan with the Lions earlier in the season appearing twice for Swinton against Halifax and Toulouse. The French forward made his Betfred Super League debut last month against Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium.
Levy has also featured for Whitehaven and dual-registration partners Oldham in Betfred League One so far this season.
Nzoungou will be in line to appear in each of Swinton’s upcoming Betfred Championship fixtures against  Halifax, London Broncos and Dewsbury Rams.
Levy Nzoungou is proudly sponsored by Payroll Central UK.  
Tickets for our next home game against Widnes Vikings are available at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. Purchase yours now and support the lads as they go in search of a crucial two points in the Betfred Super League.

Stat Pack | Hull FC 45-14 Salford Red Devils

We take a look at all the stats from last night’s game against Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium.
Player in focus 
This week’s ‘Player in Focus’ is George Griffin who crossed for a try late on for the Red Devils; his third of the season.
Griffin was one of five Salford players to rack up over 100 metres with ball in hand alongside Greg Johnson, Junior Sa’u, Derrell Olpherts and Lee Mossop. The prop-forward also made 31 tackles sitting one behind regular top tackler Logan Tomkins. Griffin made ten carries throughout the game as well as making one initial break.
Backs earning hard yards
The focus is often on the forwards when it comes to making the metres but Salford’s outside backs put their hands up against Hull FC last night.
Derrell Olpherts – who has impressed in recent weeks – was the team’s biggest metre-eater totalling 150 metres with ball in hand. He was followed by reliable centre Junior Sa’u who made 135 metres while Greg Johnson was just eight metres behind Sa’u.
Olpherts finished the game with an average of 8.8 metres per carry while Kris Welham, Sa’u and Johnson were all above 7 metres per carry, on average.
Overall stats
The biggest difference between the sides was completed sets with Hull FC managing to complete on 30 occasions; nine more than the Red Devils. The teams were relatively evenly matched in terms of incomplete sets 9-11.
Salford actually spent more time with ball in hand than the Black and Whites and also had more play-the-balls and more quick play-the-balls. However, the penalty count was comfortably in the hosts’ favour, 4-10.
In areas such as breaks, offloads and errors the sides were extremely evenly matched. Hull FC made ten more tackles than Salford and missed six more than the Red Devils.

Ian Watson | “We’re making silly errors”

Head Coach Ian Watson bemoaned his sides ball control and ability to ask questions of Hull FC following their 45-14 defeat at the KCOM Stadium. 
However, Watson did see an improved side after the interval with the Red Devils winning the second half.
Watch Ian Watson’s full press conference below:

Match Report | Hull FC 45-14 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils succumbed to a 45-14 defeat as Hull FC ran out comfortable winners on a frustrating evening at the KCOM Stadium.
Although the Red Devils managed to conjure up three second-half scores through Greg Johnson, Derrell Olpherts and George Griffin, Salford still fell short as the hosts claimed a deserved victory.
Bureta Faraimo’s hat-trick alongside further tries from Jack Downs, Jack Logan, Hakim Miloudi and Jamie Shaul ensured Lee Radford’s side secured two pivotal points.
The hosts made a flying start to the contest and opened the scoring with just five minutes on the clock. After the ball was worked out wide, Faraimo stepped inside before holding off Greg Johnson and diving over.
Jake Connor kicked the first of nine goals and the Black & Whites crossed over again just six minutes later. Faraimo grabbed his second after intercepting Robert Lui’s lofted pass before sprinting the length of the field and touching down.
Hull began to take full control and managed to add two more tries in quick succession. First, Downs slid over the whitewash after a clever offload from Logan before the latter turned from provider to scorer after an excellent break from Jamie Shaul.
Things worsened for the Red Devils as Miloudi flew out of the line to intercept a wayward pass from Jack Littlejohn before racing 50m to score in what was a carbon copy of Faraimo’s individual effort.
Connor then added the resulting goal and a late drop-goal to rub salt further into the wounds.
Faraimo then turned provider after kicking inside to Shaul who made no mistake to touch down and cap off a fine first-half display.
The hosts picked up where they left off after the break as Faraimo completed his hat-trick after wriggling out of Greg Johnson’s tackle.
Johnson was to have the last laugh though as the winger touched down after collecting a cut-out pass from Jake Shorrocks.
Robert Lui added the extras as Salford began to grow in confidence and Ian Watson’s side soon found themselves over again as Derrell Olpherts finished off a well worked move to restore some pride to the camp.
Salford battled throughout the second period and their efforts were rewarded further as Lui played a flat ball to Griffin and the forward surged over the line from close-range.
Hull had the final say however as Connor slotted home a penalty on the hooter to wrap up proceedings.
Hull Lineup: Shaul, Faraimo, Logan, Tuimavave, Miloudi, Connor, Harris, Taylor, Washbrook, Green, Downs, Minichiello, Westerman.
Interchanges: Fash, Litten, Paea, Matongo.
Salford Lineup: Littlejohn, Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Shorrocks, Tasi, Tomkins, Mossop, Griffin, Jones, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Kopczak, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Wood.
Hull Scorers: Tries- Faraimo (5’, 12’, 51’), Downs (15’), Logan (21’), Miloudi (34’), Shaul 40’) | Goals- Connor (6’,13’, 16’, 22’, 35’, 40’, 52’, 79’) | Drop Goals- Connor (39’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Johnson 58’, Olpherts (67’), Griffin (72’) | Goals- Lui (59’)
Man of the Match: George Griffin.
Referee: Robert Hicks. Touch Judges: D Bowmer & M. Craven. Video Referee: Robert Hicks.
Attendance: 10,606.

Preview | Hull FC vs Salford Red Devils | Friday 8th June

Salford Red Devils travel to Hull FC in search of two crucial points in the hunt for a spot inside the Super 8s.
Here is our preview of the fixture including both teams recent form, team news, full squads and a head-to-head between two players who could be pivotal in the outcome of the game.
Last Time Out
The Red Devils suffered defeat at the hands of Huddersfield Giants in their last outing but did go into the break in the lead thanks to tries from Niall Evalds and Junior Sa’u. The centre did power over for a second late on, but Huddersfield’s comeback had already been complete with scores from Darnell McIntosh, Daniel Smith, Jordan Turner and Kruise Leeming.
Hull FC’s two-year unbeaten run in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup came to an end last weekend as they suffered a 25-22 defeat at the hands of current Betfred Super League leaders St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Albert Kelly, James Green, Scott Taylor and Hakim Miloudi all crossed for Hull FC however doubles from Mark Percival and Regan Grace alongside a terrific kicking display from Danny Richardson, which included a drop-goal, sealed victory for the Saints.
Salford will be looking to get back to winning ways this weekend against Hull FC after a difficult spell in May. The Red Devils came close to turning their fortunes around last weekend against Huddersfield and a victory on Friday evening could see them climb back into the top eight.
FC have had a mixed bag of results lately with the defeat against St Helens following a 30-12 loss to Warrington Wolves at the backend of May. However, prior to this the Black and Whites had won consecutive games against Featherstone Rovers in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and local rivals Hull Kingston Rovers at the Dacia Magic Weekend.
Team News
Ian Watson welcomes back Josh Jones into the squad who has been out since the Red Devils last away victory against Huddersfield Giants. Kris Welham has also recovered from an injury he sustained at the Dacia Magic Weekend.
Jack Littlejohn also returns to the squad to face the side he scored his first-ever Red Devils try against. Lama Tasi is also reintroduced into the squad while Ryan Lannon and Gavin Bennion are the two changes from last week’s squad.
Niall Evalds is sidelined with a broken leg which he picked up against Huddersfield a fortnight ago while Kriss Brining also remains out due to injury.
Lee Radford’s Hull FC have been struggling with injuries and have a number of first team regulars missing including Sika Manu, Danny Houghton and Dean Hadley.
Long-term absentees Marc Sneyd, Josh Bowden, Josh Griffin, Fetuli Talanoa and Jordan Abdull are all also unavailable.
With Josh Jones looking set to return for the Red Devils the second-rower features in this week’s head-to-head against Hull FC back-rower Mark Minichiello.
Jones has a powerful running game out wide for the Red Devils and is always a threat on the opponent’s line. The former St Helens man still sits second in terms of offloads for the team this season despite being sidelined for two months and his hands could very well create some openings for Salford on Friday evening.
Minichiello is a workhorse for the Black and Whites sitting fourth in FC’s tackle count so far this season. The Italian international – much like Jones – has terrific hands and sits second in the Hull’s offloading ranks thus far in 2018.
While both forwards defensive efforts will be massive for their respective sides the game could come down to one pivotal offload or play from the back-rowers to edge their team in front.
Hull FC: Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Kelly, Taylor, Minichiello, Connor, Green, Washbrook, Fash, Paea, Logan, Lane, Downs, Miloudi, Matongo, Scott, Westerman, Harris.
Salford: Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Lui, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, G. Griffin, Jones, Flanagan, Tasi, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Wood, Olpherts, Mossop, Bibby, Murray, Shorrocks.