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RUGBY LEAGUE: Oxford coach backs side to make play-offs
10:20am Friday 30th August 2013 in Sport
OXFORD RL head coach Tony Benson is backing his players to secure a top-six play-off spot when they host London Skolars on Sunday.
Benson’s men will achieve that by avoiding defeat in their final regular season game, but they have not won since beating South Wales in June.
Oxford lost 54-10 at title-chasing North Wales Crusaders last time, and Benson knows they need to raise their game.
“We performed OK in the first half against North Wales two weeks ago which was encouraging,” said Benson.
“But then we made a mistake early in the second half and the players’ heads dropped, which is a mental thing really.
“North Wales picked a couple of areas that we weren’t strong in and they exploited that, and then scored on every mistake that we made.
“We have a massive game where we want to put in a big performance to finish our home campaign off on a high and ensure we qualify for the end-of-season play-offs.”
Benson has no fresh injury concerns after having a free weekend due to the Challenge Cup Final, but is hoping that Tommy Connick can return to the squad after missing the game against North Wales with a hamstring injury.
Skolars beat Oxford 40-34 ealier in the season and have climbed to third in the table.
Oxford captain Alex Thompson said: “London are always a big physical team, but this season have mixed it in with a few Broncos boys which makes them extra tough.
“They showed that when we faced them at their place earlier in the season.
“We had a good first half in that game, but in the second half we didn’t come out and let them get a roll on which we need to stop this time, otherwise it will be a long afternoon.
“If we can perform for the full 80 minutes, then I believe we can get the points needed to secure a play-off spot.”
Oxford RL: from Leather, Halliwell, S Morris, S Robinson, Connick, B Robinson, V Bentley, Roden, Hadden, Osborn, Hoggins, Johnson, Clough, Baird, Thompson (capt), Clarke, Calladine, Fiander, Burch, Blewitt, Crabtree, Morrison, J Morris, Rowland, Briggs.
- LEAGUE sponsor Kingstone Press are looking for Oxford RL’s super fan.
Supporters can nominate themselves or a friend via the Kingstone Press facebook page and a winner will be announced for each club.
From there, a grand winner will be crowned from the 23 Championship and Championship One clubs.
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