Woods expecting two to face Championship drop

YORK City Knights coach Dave Woods insists he has been told two clubs will still be relegated from the Championship next month.

There has been a lot of speculation about the make-up of the competition in 2012 given French club Toulouse have already stated they will not feature and it remains to be seen whether Crusaders – who have pulled out of Super League – will operate in the lower tier.

The Rugby Football League had originally planned on a top-flight club being demoted and replaced by Widnes Vikings with two more being relegated from the Championship in readiness for Championship One victors Swinton Lions and the winners of next month’s Championship One play-off final.

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However, with York, Hunslet Hawks and Dewsbury Rams all locked in the tussle to avoid the drop, there had been a belief they all may earn a reprieve given Toulouse’s withdrawal and uncertainty over Welsh club Crusaders’ future.

“We asked the question a couple of weeks ago – we made enquiries as we needed to know with regards signing players for next season,” said Woods. “But the RFL told us two clubs will definitely still drop out and that’s what we’re taking.

“Whether they have changed their mind since, I don’t know.”

York, promoted last season following a Championship One play-off final victory over Oldham, bolstered their hopes of survival with Thursday’s surprise 22-8 win over reigning champions Halifax.

Woods admitted: “It was a really good performance. We just need to hope results go our way now and then put a big performance in against Sheffield on the last week. We’re signing players for both leagues – Championship and Championship One – but we think we can stay up by doing a job in that last game.”

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As yet, they may not need to and, if they do survive, Woods believes the foundations have been set for further progress.

“We’ve got a young, young squad,” he said. “We’ve done well in a lot of games – home and away – and if we can stay up it will have been a really good experience. It’ll do them the world of good for next year.”

Championship leaders Leigh crushed Toulouse 46-16 on Saturday with Mick Nanyn scoring 18 points (a try and seven goals). Robbie Paul, Stuart Littler, Martyn Ridyard (two), Jamie Ellis, Jimmy Taylor and Adam Higson also crossing the line.