IT is crunch time for Dewsbury Rams as they meet Garry Schofield’s Barrow in the final Northern Rail Cup group game at Tetley’s Stadium on Sunday (3pm) with the winners going into the quarter-finals while the losers will be out of the competition.
The sides are joint third on seven points with the Rams having a superior points difference of 14.
Toulouse, who are a point behind in fifth, entertain London Skolars and look set for a sizeable winning margin which will take them through but a draw would be enough to see the Rams progress.
The Rams are set to start newcomer Jordan Tansey at stand-off after his substitute appearance at Doncaster last weekend. They could also include another new recruit, second row man Ben Bolger, who has been signed on a dual registration from Super League Harlequins.
Tansey has been signed on a pay-as-you-play deal after Hull dispensed with his services. He is a good friend of winger Austin Buchanan, who suggested he join Dewsbury to work his way back, although there was an offer from Barrow.
Coach Warren Jowitt said: “We have to thank Austin for his help is signing Jordan. His reputation doesn’t worry me, he is a quality player and now has something to prove. I had a word with him and he’s happy to play at stand-off, he came on at Doncaster and did well, although he had only trained with us on Friday night and didn’t know the other lads or our moves.”
Tansey, who started with Leeds Rhinos, has also come on the agreement that if a Super League club come in for him, he will be allowed to leave and basically it is a winning situation for both parties.
Jowitt added: “Bolger made 15 appearances in Super League last season but is still learning his trade. I spoke to former Quins coach Brian McDermott, who said he had a good attitude and was a promising player. He is said to be built like Rob Spicer and to play like him, so that can’t be bad.”
Harlequins are keen for Bolger to play at a good level and approached Dewsbury but if they have injuries he could be recalled, which is the position with all dual registration players. Bolger will also not be able to play at South Wales next weekend because Quins do not want him cup-tied.
Another plus for Jowitt was Adam Hayes playing part of the game at Doncaster. The coach remarked: “It was good for him to get a run-out. He needs more game time but he isn’t far off full fitness now and he’ll be a big addition.
“So far I have mixed and matched and haven’t played the same team in successive games. But we’re building for the league season and Sunday’s game will be a big test and will give us an idea how far we have progressed.
“We were 12-0 down at Doncaster but hit them with three tries in five minutes and Dom Brambani would have made it four but the referee disallowed it and gave us a penalty. In the second half Doncaster went 21 minutes and couldn’t get out of their own half because our tackling was so good.
“Once we settled we didn’t really look like losing. But we made handling errors and conceded a lot of penalties, which I wasn’t happy about. We gave four penalties away near their line for not playing the ball correctly.”
Jowitt was delighted with another top showing by hooker Luke Blake in his second game back after injury. The coach enthused: “He had a great game, he got us rolling, picked his moments and took some good opportunities. I’m pleased for him because he worked hard on his game during the close season and deserves to do well.”