James to fight for place

Crusaders forward Jordan James is ready to fight for his place as the side prepares to take on the Bradford Bulls at the Racecourse Ground this Sunday.

Welsh international James, 30, was recalled into the Crusaders squad for last weekend’s trip to Harlequins and made a strong impact coming of the bench.

James first team opportunities have been limited this season, making three appearances for the Wrexham based outfit.

His appearance against Harlequins was his first in a Crusader jersey since the round two defeat to Wigan back in February. Since then James has also played for Championship One side South Wales Scorpions and Widnes during a loan spell.

And following his recall to the first team, James admits he is ready to fight to keep his place in the first team, starting on Sunday against Bradford.

“It has been very frustrating for me,” said James. “I’ve just got to make sure that I keep working and training hard, doing the little extras and hopefully it will pay off and I can keep my place in the team.

“We have a very strong squad -competition for places is high and obviously someone has to miss out. Ask any player and he will say he wants to be playing week in, week out and that is the case with me.

“It was nice to get back in the team. Although it wasn’t the best of results it felt good to get a run out. I haven’t played as much as I would have liked this year and I felt a bit rusty towards the end of the game. My aim now is to keep working hard in training so that I can play week in week out and be part of the team.

James was part of the Crusaders side that lost 50-22 at Quins, a result that compounded the Welsh side to their fourth successive defeat. The Crusaders have been struggling for form in recent weeks and James admits that the team did not do themselves justice on Sunday.

“It was a tough day at the office at Quins and we just weren’t our usual selves. We were better than what we showed last Sunday. We saw plenty of ball in the opening exchanges but we couldn’t find our way over the try line. We need to concentrate and show a bit more composure in the opposition half,” James added.

“We have been training really hard, trying to fix and improve on a lot of the stuff we didn’t do last week. It has been a good week of training and hopefully we will put in a much better performance this week against Bradford.

The Bulls head to the Racecourse low on confidence after losing their previous three matches, including a 52-6 loss to Huddersfield last time around. Bradford will be without the suspended Michael Platt while Nick Scrutton is away with England on international duty. Paul Sykes and half-back Matt Orford are also struggling with injury.

However, the Bulls still carry a real physical threat in the forwards and James admits he is relishing the prospect of going toe-to-toe with the Bradford pack

“Definitely. You know they have class players all over the park and some big forwards. They are a physical team and they’re forwards carry the ball with a lot of force. As a forward you relish these kind of battles and I really like to put myself forward against them. I am looking forward to coming up against them on Sunday. Bradford have hit a bit of a slump themselves at the moment and hopefully we can get the better of them.”

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