Tag: Ben Nakubuwai

Ian Watson | “It’s our defence we take pride in”

Head Coach Ian Watson was delighted with his sides 0-46 victory over Catalans Dragons and discussed a range of pleasing aspects of the performance.

On the performance…

We felt we did a lot of positive stuff last week against St Helens. We did things that maybe the supporters don’t notice but players see in those big game and we knew coming to Catalans we’d have to be at that level of performance or above it so we kept the game plan really simple this week because we knew how good Catalans were but coming here and nilling Catalans is above what we thought we’d achieve here. The defence won the game. The way we kicked them into pockets and then we were really resilient at the back end and that won us the game. The attack is the icing on the cake for us but it’s our defence we take pride in.

On surprising people with the victory…

Every week we go in to play and I know the players and I believe we’ll beat everyone we play. It’s no surprise to me that we’ve won. We’ve got a good group but they’ve just got to grow and mature together in learning how to win the bigger games and the mentality we had against St Helens we had today as well, but we were better against Catalans. It shows we can beat teams by doing things right, but we’re used to people knocking us – it’s nothing new.

On the forward battle…

Our pack had a meeting the day before the game and said that if we were to win this game our pack needed to step up here. Lee Mossop – despite the latter not playing – led the way in that meeting, Mark Flanagan came back in and Gil Dudson has been a leader since he arrived, those guys stood up and made it clear they wanted to set a standard for the pack, and everyone has seen what they’re capable of. I thought Daniel Murray was outstanding and Ben Nakubuwai too. Adam Lawton must have come on and had to defend six goal line sets and that’s the tough part of the game and his attitude was not to be beaten there and that was the pleasing thing.

On Jake Bibby…

He was absolutely outstanding today. He’s been waiting for his chance and we’ve always had Junior Sa’u in there who always does a good job and is a leader for us. Bibby has had to be patient this season, but he’s took his chance today and put a bit of pressure in the centre positions. We’ve been waiting for Bibby to play because we sensed in pre-season, he was ready this year to step up and he’s shown a real good account of himself there.

On the halves…

I think Jackson Hastings and Rob Lui were very mature today. From the sideline you can hear them talking and Robbie was very mature in how he managed the game and he was talking to Jackson all the time, so he was helping him because we have to remember Jackson is only young and Robbie is the experienced half and he’s played outside Jonathan Thurston so he knows how to pass his maturity onto Jackson.

On preparing for Castleford…

We knew we were coming into a tough run of games but we’re confident as a group that we can perform, and we’ll be keeping our game plan really simple, so everybody knows their role. The lads deserve a lot of credit for this performance and should take the plaudits, but we’ll be back to work next week for Castleford.

On the attitude…

The pleasing stuff was when we defended a number of back-to-back sets and then went down the other end and the support play was still there. We did make an error, but our defensive line got straight back in position and that just shows your team is hungry and ready to work hard for each other.

On the travelling support…

We’ve spoken about the away fans all year and I think they’ve been outstanding at every game. You can’t knock them they were unbelievable singing the roof off the place. I know they love a good trip to Catalans, but this will be better for the result and they hope they enjoy their night.
 
Tickets for Salford Red Devils next fixture against Castleford Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday 17th March are now available from the Club Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570. For ticket and coach details, click HERE.
Salford Red Devils next home fixture sees them welcome Wigan Warriors to the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday 24th March and you can purchase tickets from the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. For ticket prices, click HERE.

Ian Watson | “I can’t wait for the season to start”

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson has given his thoughts on a range of topics ahead of this year’s opening game of the Betfred Super League season against Huddersfield Giants.
On getting the season underway…
“I just can’t wait for it to get started, though it does seem a bit earlier these days. The most important thing is that the guys have had sufficient time to recover, mentally and physically, and then get back into pre-season to the work that needs to be done there.”
On the new players in the pack…
“Adam [Lawton] is bigger than the units we had last season, while Gil Dudson has come in and set some really standards. He is really standing out as a leader among our middles, alongside Mark Flanagan and Lee Mossop.
“Jansin Turgut will also provide some pace, aggression and ball handling skill to our outer edge.”
On Jake Bibby…
“They are no longer kids now. They are fully fledged first teamers, which is what we kept instilling into them last season and they did in fact grow into that tole as they showed through some really good performances.
“We have already seen a difference in Jake Bibby during this close season compared with last year’s and the players are now seeing him as a genuine contender to hold down a place in the team.
“That is a big positive for both him and the team and he deserves a lot of credit for the way he has conducted himself through this last twelve months.”
On Daniel Murray…
“We’ll be looking to him to be challenging the likes of Lee Mossop and Gil Dudson who, at the moment, have the advantage over him with their longstanding experience. But we shall be looking at Dan, along with Ben Nakubuwai, to be playing more games this coming year and stamping their authority on the team.”
On the transition from last season…
“We have got to kick on like we did that other time. It is all well and good performing in The Qualifiers but we now have to do it against the likes of St Helens, Wigan and Wakefield.
“We are a strong, capable group with the ability to do this, and if we manage each game carefully and get something out of each of them, that momentum will continue to be generated and will take us forward.
On the loop fixtures…
“We have to play all the teams in the league at some point, so we are not going to be worrying about which team is coming up when. We are just going to focus on ourselves and what we can deliver, and we are most confident within the group that we can do well.
“We know that we shall be facing certain additional challenges with having extra games against Wigan, Warrington and Leeds, to name just a few, together with an additional trip all the way down to London. Those are the fixtures and it is our job to go out there and compete in all of them.”
On the shot clock…
“Everything is going to take place in a lot shorter time period, and at a whole lot quicker pace than previously, particularly with the number of interchanges also being reduced even further, from ten to eight.
“It is absolutely great for us, because our middle men are athletic, and we also have a number of forwards who regularly play a large number of minutes anyway, so we are more than happy with these changes.”
 
Tickets for Friday’s game against Huddersfield Giants at John Smiths Stadium are available from the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570. Ticket prices will rise on gameday so we advise supporters to purchase in advance. Salford Red Devils also retain 25% of any purchase from the AJ Bell Stadium.
Coach travel is also available to Friday’s game and can be booked at the AJ Bell Stadium or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. All ticket prices and coach details can be found HERE.

Talking Points | Salford Red Devils 52-6 Swinton Lions

Following Salford Red Devils’ comfortable victory over Swinton Lions in their first game of 2019, we take a look at some of the talking points from the fixture.
Attacking threat
The Red Devils ran in eleven tries in a controlled performance against Swinton and the attacking skill Ian Watson’s men possess was on show throughout. Junior Sa’u, Greg Johnson and Joey Lussick all profited from the attacking display crossing for braces while there was also another five Red Devils on the scoresheet.
Sa’u and Johnson’s tries all came on the back of some quick hands out wide. However, there was a number of occasions when Salford broke from deep thanks to the likes of Mark Flanagan, Niall Evalds, Jackson Hastings and young debutant Connor Davies-Aspey.
Flanagan – who began at loose-forward but went on to operate as half – linked up well with Evalds on a number of occasions which led to some great Red Devils tries. Hastings went through the line in almost identical fashion to his debut against Leeds Rhinos last year to set up Sa’u’s second try.
If the Red Devils can continue to cause problems from all over the field, we could see some more excellent tries throughout 2019.
Connor Davies-Aspey
Salford Red Devils Academy player Connor Davies-Aspey was awarded a one-month trial earlier this week and he certainly made the most of his opportunity against Swinton with an impressive cameo in the final twenty minutes of the game.
Davies-Aspey came onto the field and managed to make three clean breaks. His break in the final ten minutes put winger Derrell Olpherts over in the corner and he was close to finishing the game with two try-assists however pulled the trigger a second too early on his pass to Jansin Turgut just minutes earlier.
Head Coach Ian Watson praised the young hooker in his post-match press conference saying it ‘was great for young kid to come in and do that’. Read more of Ian Watson’s reaction here.
Davies-Aspey has certainly put himself in contention for a place in the squad next weekend as the Red Devils face current Betfred Super League champions Wigan Warriors in a pre-season friendly at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Versatility and depth
After the interval, Ian Watson made four changes to the starting side with Greg Johnson and Derrell Olpherts coming onto the field in place of Ed Chamberlain and Jake Bibby. Both Johnson and Olpherts would go on to score in the second half showing the quality of the Red Devils’ options on the wing this season.
In the pack, the likes of Tyrone McCarthy and Ben Nakubuwai entered the fray and made an impact following impressive forty-minute stints from Lee Mossop and new recruit Gil Dudson in the first half.
Half-back duo Jackson Hastings and Rob Lui both left the field midway through the second half with Mark Flanagan, Joey Lussick and Niall Evalds jumping into the halves. Salford’s try-scoring form didn’t slow down, and the Red Devils continued to look smooth in the absence of a permanent half-back.
The crowd 
On a cold January afternoon fans of both Salford Red Devils and Swinton Lions braved the conditions to watch their sides putting together a solid showing for a pre-season friendly with 1798 people in attendance.
Salford vs Swinton is a fixture – that was Head Coach Ian Watson pointed out earlier in the week – doesn’t happen too often anymore so it has become somewhat of a sought-after attraction. Our Betfred Championship visitors brought a strong following down the road to the AJ Bell Stadium this weekend while our loyal Red Devils were in fine voice as always showing the passion for the game in the local area.
Next weekend, the Red Devils host another local side in Wigan Warriors, and we’ll be hoping for a similarly strong turnout.
 

Tickets for Salford Red Devils’ next pre-season friendly are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. For a reminder of ticket prices, click HERE.Salford Red Devils 2019 Season Tickets are still available to purchase from the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. You can spread the cost via Direct Debit payments, for more details, click HERE.

Gallery | Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital visit

Last week, Salford Red Devils visited Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to give out selection boxes and toys to some amazingly strong children ahead of the Festive season.
The visit was made possible by a host of Salford Red Devils fans and local business donating an array of selection boxes and gifts alongside donations from the Club and we’d like to again thank everyone who contributed.
Head Coach Ian Watson said: “The visit to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital was an honour for myself and the squad. To get to share some quality time with the staff and children was an amazing experience.
“The fact we could go in and be welcomed in the way we were was very special.
“We couldn’t believe the spirits of the strong children, many of whom may spend Christmas time there. The outstanding care that we witness was first class.
“All the squad loved the interaction with the patients and we hope to welcome many of them to Salford Red Devils games when on their way to recovery.”
And, we’ve put together twenty images from our visit to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for you to take a look at: 

Sponsor | Sparta Lightning Services sponsor three players for 2019

Salford Red Devils are delighted to confirm that Sparta Lightning Services will remain as the player sponsors of Ben Nakubuwai, Mark Flanagan and Ed Chamberlain for the 2019 season.
Sparta Lightning Services – a Salford-based business who employ Salfordians in their work force – proudly sponsored all three players throughout the 2018 season and will continue to partner the Club going forward.
Vince Keenan, Owner of Sparta Lightning Services, said: “After meeting with the Club and getting an insight into how they want to move forward we were more than happy to offer our services
“As my company installs lightning protection systems on buildings the ideal first player to sponsor was Mark ‘Flash’ Flanagan.
“He’s been a model professional since joining the Club and the hard work that he has put in will surely rub off on the younger players. He is one of the more senior players in the squad and has become an integral part of the team at Salford and we’re proud to sponsor him.
Sparta Lightning Services will also sponsor Fijian international Ben Nakubuwai and Ed Chamberlain again for the 2019 season.
Vince Keenan said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring Ben again this season. He’s a big strong running prop-forward and he’s fitted into the team brilliantly since arriving last season.
“I can see Ben reaching new levels this coming season and hopefully he’ll find himself on the scoresheet more as he’s acclimatised to the weather in Salford!
“Ed Chamberlain is another great young player that the Club signed midway through the season. When he came to the Club, I didn’t know much about him or what to expect but I can honestly say I haven’t seen a player fit into the side so well for a long time.
“After seeing him play it was an easy decision to sponsor him. He’s a fantastic goal kicker as well which was massive for the team at the backend of the season and he was brilliant in both attack and defence.
“As a company, we are looking forward to the 2019 season and what it will bring. I love hearing the Salford Reds are rising and the buzz around the Club, players and fans has been lifted with the hard work everyone is doing behind the scenes.”
Salford Red Devils Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said: “We’re delighted to have Sparta Lightning Services on board as player sponsors again for the 2019 season.
“They were big supporters of the Club last season sponsoring Mark Flanagan and Ben Nakubuwai from the off and picked up Ed Chamberlain as soon as he came to the Club.
“It’s great to retain sponsorships such as Sparta Lightning Services as we build to the 2019 season and we hope they enjoy the season as proud player sponsors at Salford Red Devils.”
For sponsorship enquiries please E-Mail Adrian.Stores@Salfordreddevils.net or call 0161 786 1590.

Squad | Ian Watson names 19-man to visit London Broncos

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad for this weekend’s trip to London Broncos in the Qualifiers.  
Ben Nakubuwai returns to the 19-man squad after picking up a shoulder knock a few weeks ago in the victory over Halifax.
Jack Littlejohn could feature for the first time in three months with fellow halfback Josh Wood missing out after picking up a knock last week against Leeds.
Jansin Turgut retains his place in the squad after debuting at the Emerald Headingley Stadium last weekend. Gavin Bennion could also feature for the first time since the win over Leeds Rhinos in July.
Greg Johnson is also included after a lay-off with a foot injury. Luke Burgess also returns to the squad after serving a one-game suspension following his red card in the win over Toronto Wolfpack.
Jackson Hastings will serve the second of a two-match suspension following his dismissal in the closing stages of the win over Toronto. Junior Sa’u just misses out with an arm injury. Lee Mossop, Lama Tasi and George Griffin are all out of the 19-man squad.
The full squad is as follows:
Gavin Bennion, Luke Burgess, Greg Burke, Mark Flanagan, Greg Johnson, Josh Jones, Craig Kopczak, Ryan Lannon, Joey Lussick, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Derrell Olpherts, Jansin Turgut, Kris Welham, Niall Evalds, Rob Lui, Jack Littlejohn, Jake Bibby, Ed Chamberlain.
 
Tickets for this fixture are available at the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570 and are available to purchase up until 3pm on Friday 21st September.

Squad | Ian Watson names 19-man to welcome the Wolfpack

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad for this weekend’s huge Qualifiers battle with Toronto Wolfpack at the AJ Bell Stadium, 3:15pm kick-off.
George Griffin returns to the squad following a lay-off and could make his first appearance for the Red Devils since our trip to Warrington at the end of June.
Lee Mossop also returns to the 19-man squad after missing the game against Halifax. Fellow forward Luke Burgess retains his place following an impressive return last weekend at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Head Coach Ian Watson has confirmed that Ben Nakubuwai is struggling with a shoulder injury picked up in the win over Halifax and will miss this weekend’s game. Daniel Murray is the other change to the 19-man squad.


The 19-man squad in full can be seen below: 
Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds, Robert Lui, George Griffin, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Luke Burgess, Tyrone McCarthy, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke, Jackson Hastings, Joey Lussick.
Welcome the Wolfpack! 
Tickets for our next home game against Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday 8th September are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or SAVE MONEY by buying online, just CLICK HERE.
 

Match Report | Halifax RLFC 4-62 Salford Red Devils

Salford made it three wins from three in The Qualifiers to open up a two-point from four other teams with a convincing 4-62 victory over Halifax at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Derrell Olpherts crossed for his first hat-trick in Salford colours while Jackson Hastings and Junior Sa’u both notched braces. Ed Chamberlain, Ben Nakubuwai, Kris Welham, Lama Tasi and Josh Wood were all also on the scoresheet. Sam Wood scored Halifax’s only try.
But it was the hosts who were quickest out of the blocks and opened the scoring early on. Heaton streaked away down the flank before finding Sam Wood in support to give Halifax an early lead.
However, the Red Devils soon found their feet and it was Hastings who levelled the scores as he dummied and ghosted his way through the defensive line. Hastings was central to Salford’s second as his high kick was knocked down by Welham before the ball found Chamberlain out wide who put Ian Watson’s men ahead.


Fellow Australian half Rob Lui settled into the game and began causing the Halifax defence issues and it wasn’t long until Olpherts crossed in similar fashion to Chamberlain before him. This time it was Josh Jones who rose highest before Olpherts grabbed his first of the game.
Nakubuwai would soon force his way through the Halifax defence under the posts as Salford strengthened their grip on the game.
With five minutes of the first half remaining the Red Devils showed no signs of letting up crossing for two quickfire tries. Hastings scooped up a loose ball when it had looked like the chance had passed finding Niall Evalds who in turn looped the ball wide to Olpherts to score his second of the game.
On the half-time hooter, Chamberlain broke down the opposite wing before throwing the ball inside to an onrushing Welham giving Salford a comfortable lead going into the break.
Half-time didn’t affect Ian Watson’s who scored inside the opening few minutes of the second half with Olpherts claiming his hat-trick. However, the hard work was done by mercurial halfback Hastings who broke from deep before finding the former League One winger.
Tasi was the next Red Devil to break the Halifax defence powering his way over for his first try of the 2018 season. Hastings again provided a try-assist as Sa’u crashed over from close-range before gliding through a big gap in the Fax defence to score himself.


Hastings and fellow halfback Lui were both taken from the field with twenty minutes remaining with one eye on next week’s game against Toronto. Youngster Wood stepped into the halves and went through to score shortly after.
It was down to Sa’u to wrap up a rampant Salford display as he plucked Evalds’ pass out of the air before stepping inside to score in the final minute.
Halifax: Moss, Heaton, Wood, Butler, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Fleming, Kaye, Baldwinson, Tangata, Grady, Grix.
Interchanges: Maher, Moore, Cooper, Fairbank.
Salford: Evalds, Olpherts, Sa’u, Welham, Chamberlain; Lui, Hastings; Tasi, Wood, Murray, Jones, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Burgess, Nakubuwai, Burke, Lussick.
Halifax Tries: Wood (9)
Salford Tries: Hastings (12, 65), Chamberlain (19), Olpherts (23, 36, 44), Nakubuwai (27), Welham (40), Tasi (49), Sa’u (54, 80), Wood (71). Salford Conversions: Chamberlain (20, 28, 37, 45, 50, 66, 73)
Man of the Match: Rob Lui.
Referee: Tom Grant.
Touch Judge: Chris Kendall.
Touch Judge: Andrew Sweet.
Attendance: 2555.

Squad | Ian Watson names 19-man for trip to France

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad that will travel to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
Fullback Niall Evalds returns to the squad following a nine-week spell on the sideliens after breaking a bone in his leg in April’s victory over Wakefield Trinity.
Ed Chamberlain – who has started at fullback in the past two fixtures – retains his place in the side for the trip to Catalans.
French forward Levy Nzoungou made his second appearance – and his home debut – last Friday against Castleford Tigers and could make it back-to-back appearances this weekend.
Ben Nakubuwai returned to the team last weekend and will be looking to retain his place in France.
Craig Kopczak is named in the squad but is unlikely to feature as the forward hasn’t fully recovered from a quadricep injury. Luke Burgess is the one change to the side as he is still struggling with a knee injury.
The full squad is as follows:
Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds, Rob Lui, Craig Kopczak, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Levy Nzoungou, Daniel Murray, Jake Shorrocks, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke.
Ready for the Rhinos!
Purchase your tickets for our game with Leeds on Friday 27th July from the Club Ticket Office, on 0161 786 1570 or by simply clicking HERE.
 
 

Ben Nakubuwai | “We need to be resilient”

Ahead of tonight’s Betfred Super League clash with Castleford Tigers, we caught up with Ben Nakubuwai who feels the Red Devils forwards need to get on top in the early stages. 
Nakubuwai, sponsored by Sparta Lightning Services, said: “It’s going to be really important for us to stamp our mark on the game and show them that we’re here to play and that starts with us forwards.
“If you look at last weekend’s game against Hull KR we were all over them in the first twenty minutes. We just need to keep consistent and do what works well for us and that’s when our middles keep going forward.
“If we can do that and limit our errors we’re a side to be reckoned with.”
Despite defeat last weekend against Hull Kingston Rovers, Nakubuwai maintains that there is still a lot of confidence in the camp and knows the importance of building momentum heading into the 8s.
“It’s really important for us to start stringing some good performances together so when we head into the back end of the year, so we can stay away from trouble.
“I just think we need a bit more composure when calls go against us or we make mistakes. We need to be resilient, not allow our heads to drop and keep the same attitude throughout the whole eighty minutes.
“Everyone will be focused on their jobs and aiming to put in the best performance they possibly can.
“There’s still a lot of confidence in the camp, we’re staying positive and focused on the job at hand.”
Nakubuwai has become a regular feature in the first team since arriving from Gold Coast Titans and is loving life at the AJ Bell Stadium.
“It’s going to be good to play our first game at home for nearly a month. It’s always good to play in a familiar environment and the fans are always terrific at the AJ Bell Stadium.
“It’s my first year in the Betfred Super League and I’m really enjoying the experience so far. I feel like my game has improved and I feel like every week I’m learning new things that are furthering me as a rugby league player.”
The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder!
Tickets are still available from the Club Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570 for this evening’s game.