Halifax RLFC head coach Matt Calland is hoping his side can end their recent run of poor form when they travel to face Toulouse Olympique in their Northern Rail Cup quarter-final clash on Saturday April 9 (7.00pm).
Halifax have lost all three of their Co-operative Championship fixtures so far this season, including a 26-12 defeat at the hands of Toulouse in their opening fixture of the league campaign, but Calland is confident that his players can stop the rot when they return to the south of France for a crucial Cup contest.
“We’re confident that we can put in a good performance on the day,” said Calland. “We’ve been low on form in recent weeks and our performances haven’t been at the level we want them to be at, but I’m confident that we can start to turn things around this weekend.
“Our defence has been leaky so far but it’s still early days and some of our new players are still settling in. Everything hasn’t clicked on the field yet but every team goes through this sort of period and we know we will come out of the other end at some point. We have to keep trying our hardest and sticking to our and hopefully will click against Toulouse because we can’t afford to put in another poor performance.
“The competition is getting stronger and stronger each year and any of the remaining clubs has as much chance as the other of winning the cup. There are no easy games because if you’re not playing at your very best every week then you will lose because every team in the competition has enough quality to beat any other.”
Toulouse cruised to a 14-0 half-time lead en route to their 26-12 win and Calland knows his side will need to put in a big performance if they are to avoid slipping to a second consecutive defeat at the hands of the Frenchmen.
“Toulouse played very well against us in the opening game of the league campaign,” said Calland. “They’ve got a very solid forward unit and their half-backs are up there with some of the best in the league but we now know their strengths and their weaknesses better so we can prepare for that and hopefully counter their threats.
“Every team is upping their game when they play against us this year because we’re the defending league champions and they’re all going out there to prove a point against us so we know it’s going to be another tough game.”
Tickets for the 2011 Northern Rail Cup final at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, on Sunday July 17 cost from just £12 for adults (£5 concessions) and are available by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 11 13 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk