The Robins head to Southern France to take on second placed Toulouse with a much changed and youthful looking squad for tomorrow’s Championship fixture (kick off 4pm).
Even with a full squad to choose from, coach Tim Sheens knows his side would’ve faced the toughest test of their season, so without a host of experienced first team stars either injured or not selected will make it twice as tough.
A defeat won’t be too damaging to the Robins as they currently sit four points clear of tomorrow’s opponents but it would bring an end to the 100% record which they have scrapped hard to maintain, especially last Friday’s encounter with Featherstone Rovers.
Influential captain Shaun Lunt remains on the sideline as does a host of senior stars, including Jamie Ellis, Maurice Blair, Adam Quinlan and Liam Salter along with Danny Addy and James Donaldson who both picked up injuries in the bruising victory over Fev.
Australian recruit Jake Butler-Fleming is in line for a long awaited debut for the Robins. Also making welcome returns to the squad are long term absentees Mitch Clark and Joe Wardill as well as youngsters Will Oakes, Will Jubb, Kieran Moran, Joe Cator and Liam Harris.
Exciting youngster Harris, an undoubted star of the COHA may be given a chance to impress in the halves alongside FC loanee Jordan Abdull, whilst recent Kiwi recruit Zach Dockar-Clay will look to expose any weaknesses of the French side, in and around the ruck.
Sheens’ men will be up against some talented players with a wealth of top flight experience both in Super League and the NRL. Not least Con Mika who was a popular figure during his time at Craven Park. Ex- Catalans Dragons players, Stanislas Robin and the Bentley brothers Andrew and Kane along with ex NRL and Cook Islands international Johnathon Ford will provide a massive test for the Robins.
Olympique coach Sylvain Houles will be expecting a positive response from his men after going down 30-16 to the erratic London Broncos on Good Friday and will see this game against a much changed opposition as the perfect opportunity to regain ground on the table toppers.
The robins have enough quality within the squad to get what will be seen as an unexpected victory, which sounds strange talking about the unbeaten side in the division, but it will require all 17 who take the pitch to be at the top of their game to beat the formidable home side.
A win tomorrow should be seen as a bonus for the Robins and not disastrous as they head into next weekend’s Challenge Cup tie at Leigh Centurions.