Round eight of the Betfred Championship was once again split over two days as Toulouse visited Batley on Saturday afternoon, and all the remaining fixture being played on Sunday.

Game of the round was the clash between the sides in third and fourth as the Sheffield Eagles visited York City Knights, but there was plenty of interest elsewhere.

Bradford were hosts to Leigh, Toronto were in Halifax, Widnes visited Rochdale looking for another win to overcome their points deduction, while Featherstone Rovers played Dewsbury and Swinton went to Barrow looking for their first points if the season.

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After an indifferent start to the season Halifax had the opportunity to strike a blow for their top half of the table aspirations and cause a temporary derailment of the Toronto Wolfpack juggernaut, as the two sides did battle at the MBi Shay.

Toronto needed the win to return to the top of the Betfred Championship table but a win for Halifax could see them finish the weekend in fifth spot, should other results go in their favour. But the odds were on the side of Brian McDermott’s side as they looked to make it seven wins in eight outings.

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Two teams at the wrong end of the table clashed in Perpignan as the Catalans Dragons took on bottom side, the Leeds Rhinos, with both outfits desperate for the two points. A home win would see the Dragons up to fifth but if the Rhinos should get the two points then they’d be up to tenth, at least until tomorrow.

The Catalans Dragons had no Sam Moa or Greg Bird with Julian Bousquet and Michael Goudemand called into the starting thirteen. The Rhinos were without Lolohea, who had not made the trip, but did have skipper Kallum Watkins and old head Jamie Jones-Buchanan back in their side.

Conditions in the south of France were perfect for an open game of rugby, and a decent crowd was inside the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

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The game of round seven of Superleague was the clash of top against third as St Helens travelled to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle to take on the Castleford Tigers. A win by seventeen points or more would see the home side into top spot, but should the visitors emerge triumphant then they would regain their two point cushion at the top of the table.

Saints were unchanged from the side which prevailed over the Huddersfield Giants last weekend while the Tigers had Grant Millington back in the starting line-up, after suspension, in place of Jesse Sene-Lefeo, who dropped to the bench. Chris Clarkson also missed out, being replaced by James Clare.

The home supporters were looking for a more convincing performance than their side turned in against Salford last week, but they were up against it with St Helens being installed as strong favourites for the win.

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Round seven takes us to the quarter season mark as all our sides look to push for places at the top of the table, or fight to get away from the strugglers at the bottom.

First up was a Thursday night fixture between Wakefield Trinity and the Warrington Wolves with the home side looking for a win to celebrate the news that they have secured the freehold of their ground and that they can now push ahead with their plans to modernise.

Fifth placed Wakefield went into the game four points adrift of a Warrington side who needed the two points, and a big points win, to jump ahead of St Helens to the top of the pile. Wakefield were without, amongsth others,  a long-term injured Tom Johnstone, while the visitors were without Ben Westwood who picked up a four match ban in the win over Wigan.

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Round Seven of the Betfred Championship would continue to see the league table split into two halves as the top and bottom sides jostled for league positions as the season headed towards its quarter season point.

Toulouse looked to move into top position on Saturday with a home game against struggling Barrow while Toronto would have to wait until the late kick-off to regain their top spot, should they beat Batley.  Fellow front runners York had a difficult home game with Halifax while Sheffield were away at Dewsbury against the Rams.

Bottom side, through points deduction, Widnes were at home to the Bulls while Featherstone were at pointless Swinton and Leigh Centurions were at home to Rochdale.

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Toronto Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott made five changes to the side which lost last week against Toulouse Olympique XIII as they took on the Batley Bulldogs in the second of the double header at Craven Park.

The Bulldogs have just one win so far this season, the Wolfpack just one loss. A win would take the Wolfpack back to the top of the pile and two points clear while a win for Batley would lift them three places into ninth.

The bookies could only see one winner, for them it was a matter of how many the Wolfpack would run in.

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Seventh took on ninth in the first of a double header at Craven Park as Hull KR welcomed the Catalans Dragons to a sunny but blustery East Yorkshire.

The Dragons were still smarting from their nilling at the hands of the Salford Red Devils last Saturday while KR were on a high after their close away win at Wakefield in their round five fixture.

A win for the Rover would see them into the top five but Tim Sheens was without five first choice front rowers. A win by more than an eighteen point margin would see Steve McNamara’s Dragons above KR into seventh spot, but they too had injury issues naming Lucas Albert at hooker for the first time in his career. A good crowd had gathered hoping for a big home win.

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Two sides who have had very different starts to their 2019 seasons met at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium when third top Warrington Wolves hosted third bottom Wigan Warriors.

Adrian Lam had rung the changes in making seven changes from the side that lost to the Huddersfield Giants last weekend whereas the Wolves had the luxury of just one enforced change.

A win for the Wolves would lift them into second place and  just two points behind the league leaders but if the visitors could grab the win, against the bookies odds, then they could be up as high as seventh in the embryonic league table.

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One hundred percenters, and Super League top placed, St Helens travelled over the Pennines to the John Smith’s Stadium to take on a Huddersfield Giants side languising in bottom, with just one win to their name, and the second worst points difference in the league.

The visitors were, not unexpectedly, big odds-on favourites with the bookies with little chance being given to Simon Woolford’s side who are still suffering through injuries suffered in pre-season, and who have now lost the services of Aaron Murphy.

The Giants upset the form book by securing a famous first season win away to Wigan last weekend and Justin Holbrook will have warned his side against any complacency. A win would see the Giants up towards the middle of the table but if the Saints picked up the points they would go four points clear overnight.

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