This weekend one of the biggest games on the women’s Super League calendar will take place when Castleford Tigers host St. Helens at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Both teams have made unbeaten starts to the season winning all three of their opening games in fine style – both are only separated in the table by Castleford’s superior points difference.
Another reason why this promises to be one of the clashes of the season is the fact that a total of 16 England internationals will be in action.
In the latest England team selection, head coach Craig Richards chose eight St. Helens and eight Castleford players – all of whom are expected to play on Sunday.
St. Helens full-back, Jodie Cunningham, believes that comparisons will no doubt be made between the England players.
She said: “When you’re competing against fellow internationals there’s always an element of being compared. Equally, if you can perform in these big games, you are setting your mark on those international games later down the line.
“Individually everyone will want to put a big mark on this game to highlight themselves and their own skill but, for us the most important thing to know is that if we work as a team we can get a good result.”
The head to head record between Castleford and Saints could not be any tighter. Last season their first encounter ended in a 14-14 draw which was also played at the Jungle.
Only a few weeks later, the Tigresses knocked Saints out of the Challenge Cup following their 30-16 win in the quarter-final. However, St. Helens got their revenge later on in the season when they claimed a 24-14 win over the West Yorkshire side.
Castleford’s young upcoming star Lacey Owen, believes Sunday’s encounter is going to be an unpredictable one.
She said: “We both have good squads and we’re both always fired up for this game. We do have two very different teams as ours is focused on youth while their team is highly experienced. Because of this, you never know who will win or how the game will pan out.
“It’s top two sides going against each other. Whichever way it goes on the scoreboard – it’s going to be tight.”
Owen is one of two Tigresses who will miss Sunday’s game through injury. The player broke her foot in the game with Leeds two weeks ago while her teammate Georgie Hetherington suffered a broken radius.
St. Helens, on the other hand, have no injury worries ahead of this clash and will be able to field their strong side.