Kingstone Press League 1 Preview: Oxford v North Wales Crusaders

Oxford coach Tim Rumford is looking for a response from his players this week following their 64-0 defeat at Oldham.

“The performance was probably the worse we’ve had this season,” he said.

“The middle of the field was our biggest disappointment. We failed to control the speed of the ruck, our first contact was poor and our wrestle and technique really let us down.

The opposition had the opportunity to play on their own terms and our edges were in scramble mode all the time – it’s very easy to attack against a team going backwards.

“We’ve got a lot to fix up this week, particularly in the middle, and I’m looking for a response and a tough response. We want some people to get some shoulder in and make some good first contact; that will be the challenge for our players.”

There are doubts over loose forward Jamie Milburn, who has a shoulder injury while centre Josh Nathaniel and half-back Nathan Kitson have hamstring issues.

Anthony Murray, the North Wales Crusaders coach, was disappointed when his side we edged out by Rochdale Hornets last week.

“We were leading up to 37 minutes of the second half and looking really comfortable,” he said.

“We made a couple of errors in the closing stages which Rochdale capitalised on. We had our chances to win it at the death but took the wrong option.

“It was a really competitive game and a great advertisement for League 1 for the neutral but unfortunately for us we weren’t on the right side of the result.

Oxford have been quite competitive at home and they could have a sprinkling of dual-reg players from London and Bradford so they could be a little bit stronger. It will be a competitive game I’m sure.”

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