Leigh Leopards coach delivers injury update with duo set for return as wanted forward suffers blow

Ben Olawumi
Ben Nakubuwai, Oliver Holmes, Robbie Mulhern

Leigh Leopards' Ben Nakubuwai (left), Oliver Holmes (middle) & Robbie Mulhern (right)

Leigh Leopards could see forward pair Robbie Mulhern and Oliver Holmes return this week, but wanted man Ben Nakubuwai – who is being pursued by Castleford Tigers – has picked up a knock.

Powerhouse Mulhern has missed the last two games, a defeat to Wigan Warriors and a Challenge Cup exit up at Hull KR, with a calf strain, the same type of injury picked up by numerous Leopards players so far this term.

Holmes meanwhile – who has made appearances for Leigh’s reserves this year – has featured just once in Super League for Adrian Lam’s side this season, scoring two tries against Hull FC in mid-March.

He also appeared the following week in the cup against Featherstone Rovers, but hasn’t been seen since.

Leigh Leopards coach delivers injury update with forward duo set for return

Leopards chief Lam was able to deliver some positive news on the injury front ahead of their trip to Warrington Wolves this weekend, not just on that pair, but some hugely influential stars in the camp.

He said: “Gaz O’Brien has had a calf tear and it’s a pretty big one, so he’s going to be long-term on his return back to playing, probably around the six-week mark.

“But (Robbie) Mulhern may be in the picture to play this week, Oli Holmes may be in the picture to play this week, they’re the players returning.

“Players like John Asiata, Tom Briscoe and Edwin Ipape are all on-field running now, so it’s a good sign in that regard, but we’re still a couple of weeks away for those guys.

“It seems like ages ago that they were injured, but they’re not too far away now. We’re still reasonably early on in the season, so there’s some hope there for us in the sense of getting our starting middles back on.

“We’ve just got to keep powering on as I’ve said before with everything that’s been thrown in our faces during this part of the season.”

Wanted Leigh man Ben Nakubuwai suffers injury blow

Earlier this week, LoveRugbyLeague exclusively broke the news that Leopards ace Nakubuwai was wanted by Castleford, who have lost Papua New Guinea powerhouse Sylvester Namo to a long-term suspension following the part he played in Wigan’s Willie Isa suffering a fracture dislocation to his ankle in a cup tie last weekend.

Leigh are also understood to be keen on bringing in some fresh overseas talent, but would need one of the players currently taking up a quota spot in their squad to move on, making a move to the Jungle for Nakubuwai suitable for both clubs.

The 13-time Fiji international – who joined Leigh in 2022 – has featured in all eight of the Leopards’ games so far in 2024, all of those appearances coming off the interchange bench.

But a move has been put on hold, at least for now, with Nakubuwai picking up a knock. He will miss the short trip to Warrington on Saturday afternoon.

Lam said: “Ben is injured this week, so that puts him behind the eight-ball a little bit… I think it’s a soft tissue (problem), I’m not entirely sure though because it was only discussed this morning.

“It’s something I’ll find out later on today in the medical meeting, and then we’ll know a little bit more about it as we go.”