Weekend Rugby League preview (August 6th)

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Weekend Rugby League preview (August 6th)
Crusaders and Harlequins RL get the weekend’s Super League action underway at The Gnoll in Neath tonight.
The Welsh side have steadily improved since their first season in the Super League, and now based at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham. They currently sit ninth in the table, but Wrexham Football Club are hosting a friendly against Stoke City tonight, and so the Crusaders are making the 166-mile journey south to Neath.
Not making the trip though is Vince Mellars, the Kiwi centre who is still nursing the shoulder injury that saw him miss last week’s 60-16 win over Salford City Reds. He’ll be replaced by Jason Chan again, while Elliot Kear is added to the squad. This game has come too soon for Gareth Thomas though, who is recovering from a groin injury but is back in training.
Crusaders coach Brian Noble will be going head-to-head with Quins boss Brian McDermott, who he coached at Bradford Bulls.
McDermott’s rock-bottom side have made one change from the team with lost 42-18 to Hull FC last week, with Lamont Bryan coming in for Dave Williams.
From Saturday, the attention switches to the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-finals, starting with Leeds Rhinos against St Helens at the neutral venue of the Galpharm Stadium, home to the Huddersfield Giants.
The Rhinos have been boosted by the returns of Matt Diskin, Lee Smith and Ian Kirke, but Greg Eastwood, Ali Lauitiiti and Kallum Watkins are out injured and Carl Ablett is suspended. Youngster Luke Ambler comes into the squad.
Saints are in the semi-final for the 10th season in succession, and outgoing coach Mick Potter can call upon centre Matt Gidley and goal-kicking winger Jonny Lomax. The exciting Kyle Eastmond is still out with an ankle problem though.
“Trophies are something the club are really big on," said Potter, who will take over at Bradford next season. “Everyone loves to win and I would love to leave St Helens at the end of the year with some silverware. But whatever will happen, will happen.”
The other semi-final sees Warrington Wolves take on the Catalans Dragons at the Stobart Stadium in Widnes.
Holders Wolves will have the advantage of only making a short trip, but they know they are in for a tough test as they chase a second successive final appearance.
“It's going to be like a home game for us which we will try to use to our advantage,” said winger Chris Riley.
“But at the end of the day Catalans are going to come here and give us a good game.”
The French side will certainly do that, and will be at full strength for the trip, with both Clint Greenshields and Casey Maguire returning after missing out on last week’s 24-22 win over Bradford.
“We've got the strongest squad we've had available all season so that's a good sign,” said Australian coach Kevin Walters.



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