Preview: Stags look to tame the Bears as struggling sides go head-to-head

Match action from Hemel Stags' clash with York City Knights earlier this season. Picture (c) Kevin Read
Match action from Hemel Stags' clash with York City Knights earlier this season. Picture (c) Kevin Read
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Hemel Stags will be looking to make it back-to-back wins in Kingstone Press League 1 when they welcome Coventry Bears to Pennine Way on Sunday.

The Stags enjoyed a 46-28 win at South Wales Scorpions last weekend, and coach Troy Perkins said: “It was good to get the win last week, it’s been a while.

Coventry beat us convincingly at their place, we were pretty poor that day so we’ll be looking to get one back.

Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins

“We played alright in the first half but were down at half-time due to a few defensive errors. In the second half I was pretty pleased with how we went. Scoring 10 tries is a great effort against anyone, we probably need to be a bit better in defence.

“But we scored some nice tries and it’s something to build on this week. Coventry beat us convincingly at their place, we were pretty poor that day so we’ll be looking to get one back. We’re both on the same amount of points.

“I think all the southern teams are hoping to be top of that particular group at the end of the season so this game might go a long way to decide that.”

Coventry Bears coach Tom Tsang said of his side’s defeat to Rochdale Hornets: “I thought we were unlucky to go in down at half-time. Every opportunity Rochdale had and took was off the back of a penalty or an error.

“I thought that we held our own for that first 40 minute period and scored some good tries ourselves.

“They scored at the end of the half to give them the lead but at the very least we should have been even at half-time.

“We were much the same for the first 10/15 minutes of the second half but then lapses of concentration and a couple of injuries in our backline, which meant we had to reshuffle, disrupted things. We gave away five penalties in 15 minutes and Rochdale just ran away with it in that period.

“But there were a lot of positives in terms of that first 50/55 minutes that we can take away. That 80-minute performance is something we’ve been searching for all season. It’s been elusive so far but we’re getting closer.

“If we perform like we did in the first 40 against Rochdale I’d be confident of getting a win at Hemel. But if we perform like we did in the last 30 minutes, I’m confident we would lose. We’ll be doing our best to make sure it’s the positive side we put out there.

“Hemel will be fired up themselves, they won last week so they’ll be confident and wanting to get revenge for losing to us earlier in the season. It should be a good game.”

Full-back Andy Winfield has a hamstring problem while wing Jamahl Hunte had a reoccurrence of an ankle injury but Andy Unsworth is available