Widnes ready for first test on grass

Widnes coach Denis Betts says it’s not just Castleford they have to worry about on Sunday – it’s their first run out on grass this year!

The Vikings opened their season with a 40-12 thumping of Catalans Dragons, while the Tigers were humbled 46-6 by St Helens.

With all their pre-season training done on the iPitch, as well as their only two friendlies against Warrington and Whitehaven, Widnes are yet to play, or even train, away from home since their dramatic win over Catalans at the end of last season.

They have a tough run of games coming up, with the trip to Castleford followed by back-to-back home games against Warrington and Leeds, then Wigan away.

Betts said: “We knew what was coming at the start of the year, so this was always going to be a big test.

“It’s our first one out on grass as well so it’s always a little bit tough, especially this time of the year as the ground’s a little bit softer.

“We play on a pitch that’s pretty firm and it might seem a little bit heavy-legged at times but we’re excited by it, it’s a monkey off the back.

“We got a win in the first game and we’ve used our pre-season to our benefit by getting that win.

“We just need to get better and put in to play what we practice and keep the momentum.”

Betts handed debuts to Krisnan Inu and Wellington Albert in the win against the Dragons, but has now lost winger Patrick Ah Van for three months due to a broken arm.

Widnes won just one game away from the iPitch in the regular season phase last year, at Leigh, who they also beat in the Qualifiers, as well as Halifax and Catalans.

Since their return to Super League in 2012, when the iPitch was installed, they have won 35 regular season home games (48%), winning 18 away from home (23%) including three wins at Magic Weekend and a win at Castleford back in June 2016.

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