HULL KR head coach Tim Sheens has a plan to stop Wakefield Trinity’s dangerman Bill Tupou – yet still does not know which player will actually face the marauding New Zealander.
Rovers head to Belle Vue on Sunday knowing Dream Team centre Tupou is in devastating form having caused England star Kallum Watkins countless problems when terrorising Leeds Rhinos last week.
He ran an astonishing 270m, made 11 tackle busts and two clean breaks during Trinity’s 35-18 win at Headingley.
Sheens admitted: “We have discussed it; you cannot give Bill the room to move as some of the other clubs have.
“You can’t drift away in defence on him or let him go, because he hands you off with that big right hand. He makes another 15 to 20 metres every time he carries.
“You have to be more aggressive, up-and-in defence as opposed to drift defence with him but in saying that there are certain areas where you’re not going to jam up in ‘D’.
“At our goal-line we have to be aggressive in defence.
“At the moment, though, we’ve trained with Kane (Linnett), Jimmy (Keinhorst) and Craig Hall in that position until I can clear who is going to be available to face him on that edge.”
Sheens, already without Nick Scruton and banned captain Joel Tomkins, will give late fitness checks to Linnett, Keinhorst and Robbie Mulhern tomorrow before deciding on his side.
He fears the club could be missing Ryan Lannon for up to 10 weeks, too, after he suffered an ankle injury in last Friday’s loss at Castleford Tigers.
You have to be more aggressive, up-and-in defence as opposed to drift defence with him but in saying that there are certain areas where you’re not going to jam up in ‘D’.Hull KR coach Tim Sheens
“It is a blow; he’s a young pair of legs and he has a lot of ability,” said Sheens, who may bring young winger Will Oakes in to face Wakefield.
“We have him on a three-year deal but he’s not happy about the injury because a number of the senior guys are down; it would have been a great chance for him to cement himself a spot.
“It’s common knowledge that last week we finished at Castleford with no-one on the bench, only a 13.
“We are struggling a bit for numbers.”
George Lawler should return, though, and Sheens hopes former captain Shaun Lunt – out since being hospitalised with blood poisoning in September following an infected abscess on his spine – could make his comeback against Catalans Dragons next week.