SL preview: Widnes v London (Fri)

London Broncos will be without Jamie Soward for Friday’s trip to Widnes – but head coach Tony Rea insists he’s not resting the half-back for the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.

The Australian, signed on a short-term contract from St George Illawarra, helped the Broncos reach the last four of the knock-out competition with a try, two goals and a drop goal in their 29-10 victory over Sheffield Eagles.

Rea says Soward will miss the clash with the Vikings due to a back injury.

“We genuinely have some bad knocks,” the Broncos boss said. “We’re not resting anybody this week.

“Soward has travelled from Australia, he’s travelled to France and we’ve had a long trip to Sheffield because of the bus journey.

“He’s done a real lot of travelling and he’s stiffened up during the week.

“Given his workload and what he’s been asked to come in and do, his back was untrainable today (Wednesday) so there was no way, given the number of miles he’s travelled, that he could compete in this game safely.”

The visitors are also without stand-off Michael Witt (calf), captain Tony Clubb (knee) and winger Michael Robertson (hip and knee).

Rea has added on-loan forward Jacob Fairbank, who was ineligible to play against the Eagles, to his 19-man squad, while centre Ryan Shaw, who has joined on loan from Swinton, is set to be handed his debut.

Widnes, meanwhile, saw their Wembley dreams dashed on Monday night when they went down 48-4 to Wigan.

Head coach Denis Betts has had to deal with a short turnaround for his squad, though he makes just one change with Cameron Phelps replacing Patrick Ah Van.

Widnes 19-man squad: Allen, K. Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Craven, Gerrard, Gore, Hanbury, Isa, Joseph, Kavanagh, Lawton, Leuluai, Marsh, Mellor, O’Carroll, Owens, Phelps, Winterstein.

London 19-man squad: Bryant, Colbon, Dollapi, Fairbank, Fisher, Grady, Hurst, Kaufusi, Krasniqi, Lee, Lloyd, McMeeken, Melling, O’Callaghan, Shaw, Rodney, Woodburn-Hall, Wheeldon, Wicks.

Prediction: Widnes have shown they can attack against anyone and their defence should be able to keep London out. Home win.

Stats:

Last meeting – London 14, Widnes 28 (SLR1, 3/2/13)

Super League summary:

Widnes won 4

London Broncos won 10

Widnes highest score: 38-30 (H, 2012) (Widest margin: 28-14, A, 2013)

London Broncos highest score: 68-10 (H, 2005) (Widest margin: 66-8, H, 2005; 68-10, H, 2005)

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