DEWSBURY Rams coach Warren Jowitt will issue a stark warning to his side ahead of Sunday’s tough Carnegie Challenge Cup tie against amateurs Thatto Heath Crusaders (3pm).
The Crusaders defeated Siddal to win the National Conference Premier Division Grand Final last season, while the champions have opened with two wins this time and will fancy their chances of causing an upset at Tetley’s Stadium.
However, they find the Rams in red hot form, following four straight victories, and Jowitt says everybody at the club is taking the tie very seriously.
“Thatto Heath are the best amateur team in the country and, make no bones about it, Sunday will be a tough, physical game,” said Jowitt.
“These are dangerous and daunting games for any professional team but I will be telling my players that anyone who takes this game lightly runs the risk of losing their place in the team.
“I am looking for a good cup run and this is a tricky fixture, so I will be playing a full strength team.”
Dewsbury have received a boost with the news influential forward Rob Spicer is fit to play. Ayden Faal is a major doubt while injury rules out Luke Blake. Cain Southernwood is back in training but will not be risked unless 100 per cent fit.
Dewsbury’s impressive 34-16 victory over Swinton Lions last Sunday sees them level on points with three other clubs at the top of the Co-operative Championship. Victory over the Crusaders would set them up nicely going into next week’s table topping clash with champions Featherstone Rovers.
Jowitt added: “We are playing some white hot rugby in the opening quarter and it is taking other teams time to get to grips with us.
“It may seem that we are easing off but we aren’t – it’s just a case that by the time teams get to grips with our attack, we are well ahead and we are managing to hold onto those leads, where we wouldn’t have last season.
“We are playing with confidence with some brilliant passing moves.
“People may consider some of the passes to be high risk but this is all down to the confidence the team is playing with at the moment.”
Jowitt is also considering bringing Ben Bolger back to the club as a replacement for retired forward Nick Fozzard.
Bolger had a spell on loan from Harlequins last year and although he returned to London Broncos, he could be set to return.
Jowitt said: “It is very difficult finding a replacement for Nick as clubs are reluctant to let anyone out, especially with the Easter fixtures coming up.
“I know what Ben can do. He is very good defensively and takes the ball up well and he is also keen to come back to Dewsbury.
“It could prove to be the safest bet for us and if it comes off, it could be in time to play against Featherstone.”
Dewsbury have a strong reputation of providing a warm reception to amateur clubs at this stage of the Challenge Cup and Sunday will be no exception.
Rams chairman Mark Sawyer said: “It is a big day for the amateurs and we recognise that it’s their cup final, so we want to treat them well.”
The Rams have reduced admission to £12 (adult, seated), £10 (adult, standing), with concessions priced £6 and £5.
Junior season ticket holders will be admitted for free, with all other Under-16s paying just £1 to stand.
The Challenge Cup fourth round draw will be broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live on Monday at 8.50pm.
n Ramstouch rugby second round results.
Wakefield Seagulls 3 Shaw Cross Seniors 1; Rixon Way Giants 2 Shaw Cross ‘F’ Troop 11; Ram Raiders 6 HW Donkeys 11; DMR 3 Bondy’s Tiger Sharks 10.
Table: Bondy’s Tiger Sharks 6, HW Donkeys 6, Shaw Cross ‘F’ Troop 5, Wakefield Seagulls 5, DMR 4, Shaw Cross Seniors 2, Ram Raiders 2, Rixonway Giants2
Fixtures March 26
6.15pm Shaw Cross Seniors v Ram Raiders; Shaw Cross ‘F’ Troop v Bondy’s Tiger Sharks.
6:55pm: Wakefield Seagulls v Rixonway Giants; HW Donkeys v DMR.