Sheffield confident of competing with the best

Sheffield may have gone down to Leigh last weekend but Eagles coach Mark Aston believes the manner of the close loss will serve his team well in the long run.

Sheffield Eagles were defeated 36-28 at Leigh in a see-sawing encounter.

“I thought we acquitted ourselves quite well,” Aston admitted.

“With three minutes to go it was 28-28 and I thought we would have gone on and won the game. So I’m a little bit disappointed but we certainly did ourselves a power of good, we know now we’re capable of competing with the best with a very young squad. I was proud of them.”

The Eagles host Whitehaven at home this afternoon.

“Whitehaven are big and strong and have got some good players,” Aston said.

“Like anybody in this competition if you’re not on top of your game you can get beat. They’ve got quality all over the park and certainly got a lot of ability and they know how to grind out a victory.

“We’ve got a bit of confidence from our last game. We need to challenge them, work hard defensively and get back to the benchmark we have set ourselves.”

Whitehaven come into the Sheffield game after securing their first win of the season, against Swinton Lions.

“The win definitely takes a bit of pressure off,” Swinton coach James Coyle said.

“It shows we can grind a result out, I think that’s the most important thing. At 12-12 they probably looked stronger and we could have crumbled at that point but we didn’t, we kicked on and found a way to get the result.

“It’s definitely going to be tough this week. I’ve watched Sheffield play and they’re really fit. They play very similarly to what they have done in the last few years, a lot of high percentage rugby.

“They complete their sets and build pressure. It’s always difficult to play against teams like that, so it’s going to be a tough task now that they are that 10 percent fitter, which means they can last longer in the arm wrestle and push that extra yard.

“They’re going to be very hard to compete with and we’ve picked up a few injuries so I don’t know what the squad is going to be.”

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