SHEFFIELD Eagles will turn to three young players to fill gaps in their squad to face St Helens in the Challenge Cup tomorrow.
University student Sam Scott is in line to make his debut and there’s also call ups for Eddie Battye and Corey Hanson who have played only a handful of first team games. The Eagles will be without four dual-registration players because their Super League clubs do not want them to be Cup-tied. Coach Mark Aston said: “It’s a massive opportunity for the young guys, Corey Hanson, Eddie Battye have both played first team rugby and there might be a surprise call for young Sam Scott. What a debut that will be for Sam, playing against St Helens in the Challenge Cup.”
Back row forward Scott, a student at Loughborough University, joined the Eagles this season from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Hopes that Misi Taulapapa might make a shock return against the Saints have been dashed although the Samoan international fullback has finally received his UK visa. Taulapapa is seeking a flight from New Zealand and could be back in Sheffield over the weekend.
“It’s great news that Misi has got his visa,” said Aston. “If we could have got him here by today we might have thrown him in but it’s near impossible for him to get back for the Saints game.”
Aston plans to mirror as close as possible the line-up that won at Batley on Easter Monday, with experienced winger Danny Mills filling the fourth place left vacant by the loan players. “Quentin Laulu-Togagae will start at fullback and the chance is that we will throw Corey Hanson in at centre from the start. I don’t want to be moving lots of people around,” said Aston.
“We will keep the pack of forwards together; they have been very good in the last five games. We will go for a settled team.”
Meanwhile Aston has lost out on another of his transfer targets with hooker Kirk Netherton joining Featherstone from Widnes Vikings. Former Eagles centre James Ford opted for York last week.
A hat-trick of tries from centre Tom Ashton helped Eagles reserves beat Keighley Cougars 24-22 for their first win of the season. Eagles other tries came from Jamie Cottle and Adam Brook. Lee Sanders kicked two goals.