Sheffield Tigers lose pair for second leg at Newcastle

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Sheffield co-promoter Damien Bates has defended his decision to send a patched-up side to Newcastle tomorrow for the second leg of their quarter-final play-off tie.

The Tigers take a slender six point lead to Brough Park following their 48-42 first leg win at Owlerton on Thursday.

Already without injured top two Jason Garrity and Simon Stead, the Tigers will also have Dimitri Berge and Josh Bates missing due to their participation in the World Under-21 Championships in Poland.

Bates says he was left with no other option and insists the duo’s inclusion in the event is a good reflection on the club.

Said Bates: “In regard to the dates, there wasn’t really any other alternative because you need to allow space for the semi-finals and finals and then you have potential rain-offs to think about.

“Therefore we had to take the date offered to us and it’s just unfortunate that it falls on the same day as the World Under-21s.

“They’re also without arguably their best rider Robert Lambert so it works both ways I guess.

“Dimitri and Josh are two exciting youngsters in the sport and the World Under-21s is a great experience them.

“Dimitri won the last round and it’s another example of the progression he has made as part of our club this year.

“Josh is two-time British Under-21 Champion and he’s got a lot of promise as well.

“Obviously we’d have loved them to be with us on Sunday but we also wish them the best for the World Under-21s.

“We’ve got Ricky Wells in as a guest again and while we know Newcastle is a very tough place to go to, we’re going to give it everything to try and get through to the semi-finals.”

SHEFFIELD: Ricky Wells, Robert Branford, Lewis Kerr, Simon Stead R/R, Kyle Howarth, Arthur Sissis, Nathan Greaves.