Castleford plan to be flying high for French test

DARYL POWELL: Taking the aerial route to keep top-four hopes alive.
DARYL POWELL: Taking the aerial route to keep top-four hopes alive.
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CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ Daryl Powell hopes the club’s decision to charter a plane for tomorrow’s crucial Super 8s game in France will reap dividends.

They will fly direct to Perpignan tomorrow morning in readiness for that evening’s fixture with Catalans Dragons and then fly straight back to Yorkshire after the match.

Ordinarily, clubs start travel on Thursdays for the French assignment given scheduled flight times and that consists of flying into Barcelona before heading north from Spain on a coach.

Of course, they then reverse that testing journey, too, the day after their game.

It is perhaps no surprise only Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants have prospered there this season or that Catalans are traditionally so strong at home.

However, as Castleford chase a third successive Super 8s win to keep their top-four dream on course, Powell admitted: “I’m hoping this will make a difference and it does help your preparation at home.

“We weren’t that far away when we went over there earlier in the year (Castleford lost 13-12 in February) but it is a tough place to go. History has shown that.

“Only a couple of clubs have beaten them there this year – but Leeds generally do well over there and they’re the team that charter a flight every season.”

Powell accepts the usual logistics are taxing to say the least.

“Thursday gets taken up completely in travel and then you have one session the day before in pretty extreme heat,” he explained.

“You try and keep them out of the sun but walking around over there takes its toll.

“It’s better doing it this way; you’ve got to get up earlier on the day of the game but I don’t see any reason why we can’t manage it.

“We know what we’re going to do and how the boys will manage their sleep. We’ve looked really sharp in training as well.”

Powell is unsure what to expect from Catalans, who beat champions St Helens on home turf a fortnight ago but lost their second Super 8s game at Huddersfield and need a miracle to qualify.

“It’s always difficult when you get a team who, although are mathematically capable of getting in, probably can’t,” he said.

“So, they’ll be free-flowing and they’ll relax. When French teams do that they’re very dangerous and we’ve got to be mindful of what could come our way.

“It’s about us playing well though as always; we want to create some more momentum and this is a good chance to do so.”