International prop set to return as Leigh boss provides full injury round-up

Josh McAllister
Adrian Lam Leigh Leopards News Images

Photo: Craig Thomas/News Images

Leigh head coach Adrian Lam says Fiji international prop Ben Nakubuwai could make his return from injury this week against Castleford. 

The 27-year-old has been sidelined since the side’s 34-6 loss to Wigan in the Battle of the Borough in Round Seven.

Nakubuwai was forced from the field with a knee injury in the defeat, having been ever-present until the derby fixture at the Leigh Sports Village.

Lam confirmed that the ex-Salford and Gold Coast Titans prop will be included in his 21-man squad this week and will be given every chance to make full fitness ahead of their Round 10 clash with Andy Last’s Castleford.

“Ben will be included in the 21 this week,” Lam told Love Rugby League.

“We’re going to give him right up until captain’s run.

“He is 50-50 at the moment, so if there is any doubt on that, then I’m not going to risk it, purely with the time we’ve just had off and with the time that is coming up ahead of us.

“We’ll make that decision on captain’s run. But apart from that, it’ll be pretty much the same squad we’ve had over the last couple of weeks.”

Adrian Lam provides full injury update

Providing a full injury update, Lam admits that duo Aaron Smith and Keanan Brand are now available for selection following their respective returns.

Ex-St Helens hooker Smith, 26, is yet to make an appearance this season due to injury.

Meanwhile, following his stint on hit reality ITV show Love Island, Brand has completed his return protocols and is available for selection.

“Jack Hughes is still three or four weeks away,” Lam explained.

“We’ve got Joe Wardle that’s long-term, that’s early July.

“Aaron Smith is back in training all ready to go, it is whether or not we include him in that squad or whether we try to get him some game time elsewhere.

“Keanan Brand is available now. He is loaded up now to a position where we think he can compete so he is in the same position as Aaron in the sense of whether we play him.

“Those players are probably on the fringe at the moment and need a little bit of game time, so we’ll work closely with them on that.”

Leigh coach previews Castleford clash

Following the international break that saw England claim a 64-0 victory over France in Warrington, Leigh return to action with a home clash against the Tigers on Friday.

Lam’s Leopards currently sit seventh in the table, with five wins from 10, including the impressive 20-6 triumph over Leeds prior to the break at home.

Meanwhile, Last will be looking to make it three wins for Castleford, who sit just above Wakefield at the foot of the Super League table.

The side had run Hull KR close during Round Nine, only to fall to a 12-7 defeat due to a try on the hour mark from opposition hooker Matt Parcell.

“I’ve watched a couple of games of theirs now and they are certainly trying to play an open style of rugby to help them out,” Lam said on Castleford.

“They’ve still got some players who have been around for a long time with that experience to get them over the line, but we’ve got to focus on us as a group.

“There’s been a lot of learnings along the way of how we want to be and how we want to play in attack and defence.

“For me, it is about making sure we get on who we want to be as a team. I think they’ll come here all guns blazing so if we are not on there, then it could turn very quickly.”

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