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Quentin Laulu Togagae scored a hat-trick of tries
Quentin Laulu Togagae scored a hat-trick of tries
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Sheffield Eagles went back to the top of the Championship with a hard-earned 20-18 win at Barrow Raiders.

Fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae turned in another match-wining performance with three first half-tries to restore the two-point lead over Featherstone.

Three games in 10 days and a long coach journey to Cumbria took its toll as the Eagles struggled to dominate Barrow who they had already beaten in the Northern Rail Cup this season.

They faced a torrid opening with lowly Barrow controlling the ball for a run of sets and getting their reward with winger Liam Finch touching down a chip kick. Sean Casey added the goal.

Laulu-Togagae turned a loose ball into gold as he picked up and raced through a gap for the try.

The Samoan international repeated the dose taking an offload from Michael Knowles to make a curving break from 20 metres to the line.

The lead was wiped out as hesitant covering allowed Barrow’s hooker Nathan Mossop to touch down under the posts and Casey added the goal.

Laulu-Togagae again came to the Eagles rescue touching down a chip kick from Dominic Brambani to complete his hat-trick of tries. Brambani, who missed the first two conversions, kicked the goal for a 14-12 lead at half-time.

Substitute prop Dario Esposito had the chance to extend the Eagles lead in the opening set after the restart but couldn’t get the ball down.

A string of penalties kept the Eagles camped in the Raiders’ 20-metre zone but they couldn’t find a way through a determined defence.

Hooker Andrew Henderson, who had returned after a spell on the bench, made the breakthrough on 56 minutes going over from dummy half for a try against his former club. Brambani added the goal.

Eagles tried to step up the pace but poor handling and some wild passes helped Barrow hold out.

Laulu-Togagae looked to be through but a late despairing tackle halted him five metres from the line.

Danny Jones went in under the posts and with Casey adding the goal the Eagles faced a nervous final five minutes with their lead cut to two points but held on for a vital win.

Raiders: Campbell; Backhouse, Wiper, McGilvary, Clay; Finch, Casey; Whitehead, Mossop, Brennan, Harrison, Toal, Jones. Subs: Dandy, Spencer, Matthew Haggarty, Dawson.

Tries: Finch 5, Mossop 29, Jones 73. Goals: Casey 3/3.

Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Armstrong, Taulapapa; Walker, Brambani; Higgins, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Szostak, Hirst. Subs: Davey, Gledhill, Green, Esposito. Tries: Laulu-Togagae 17, 21, 36, Henderson 56. Goals: Brambani 2/4.

Attendance: 874.