Hepi wary of Challenge Cup banana skin tie

Gloucestershire All Golds coach Brad Hepi admits their Challenge Cup tie at Skirlaugh is a “potential banana skin”.

The All Golds, one of three new teams in the professional ranks this season, travel to face the Hull amateurs, who play in the National Conference Premier League, on Sunday in the third round.

A win would put the All Golds in the hat for the fourth round draw, which includes the 14 Super League sides.

Hepi said: “The game this weekend is a huge potential banana skin for us. We are reasonably confident, but we’ve got be wary of the strength of Skirlaugh.

“The league they play in may be below us, but all of the teams that play in that division are quality sides.

“They’ve got a long history of knocking out professional sides in the opening rounds, and they’ve got a promising young squad full of good forwards.

“My job is to make sure we rise to the challenge and ensure we don’t become a name on that list.

“It’s a high point of any clubs season to compete in this fantastic tournament. The chance to face a Super League club in the next round would be incredible, and hopefully this will provide the motivation the squad need to get a result.”

New Zealander Hepi is no stranger to Hull, having played a season for Hull FC in 1998.

He played much of his career on these shores, turning out for Carlisle, Workington, Castleford, Featherstone, Salford and Doncaster between 1990 and 2001.

A welcome addition to the All Golds side is the return of Jamie Crowther who has been out since March with a broken hand. Maxime Claustres remains side-lined with a fractured eye socket however, and is still a few weeks away from full fitness.  

Jamie Greene is the only other long term absentee with a shoulder injury and could be out for the entire season. 

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