Castleford Tigers in need of improved mentality and effort in Challenge Cup semi-final week

Oli Holmes has emphasised how important it is to quickly put a record defeat behind them given the enormity of the week ahead for Castleford Tigers.

Tigers were humiliated 60-6 at home to Leeds Rhinos on Friday – the biggest ever loss against their derby rivals at Wheldon Road.

It was hard to pick out any positives for Daryl Powell’s side although they were missing a raft of first-team players.

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Castleford face Warrington Wolves in the Betfred Challenge Cup semi-final on Saturday with a place at Wembley up for grabs so they have little time to dwell on the sobering defeat.

England second-row Holmes – one of those players who missed the club’s third straight loss – said: “You have to take into account some of the things that happened.

“We lost Greg Eden early on which meant other players being pulled out of position and we even had Macca (hooker Paul McShane) on the wing at one point.

“There was some things out of our control on Friday.

“But there was other things – like efforts and mentality – that we do have to sort. It’s important we do that but, come Monday morning, we’ve put that to one side and we can start thinking about the semi-final as it is such a huge game.”

Oli Holmes: Has missed the last two games but hopes to fit for the Cup semi-final. (Picture: Isabel Pierce)

Holmes, 28, has missed the last two games with a neck problem but says he will be fit for the contest at Leigh Sports Village.

He recalled: “I got a knock against Hull KR, was supposed to play at Warrington but it flared up on the morning of the game.

“I was down to play again Friday. But it just didn’t really settle so it’s been more precaution really. It’s been an issue but it’s settled down and I’ll be okay Saturday.

“I got to Wembley with Cas in 2014 but I was only 21. I don’t think I realised the significance of it all then.

Rhinos celebrate Richie Myler scoring the rhinos fourth try as Castleford Tigers players slump to their knees. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

“It’d be huge to get back and win it this time, especially being Powelly’s last year and a few others.”

Powell hopes captain Michael Shenton, full-back Niall Evalds, prop Nathan Massey and loose forward Adam Milner will also all be fit to return to action against an in-form Warrington.

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