Hull and Leigh eyeing up return to winning ways

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Hull FC and Leigh Leopards go head to head at the MKM Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with both eyeing up a return to winning ways.

Despite suffering a third straight defeat last Friday against the current World Champions, St Helens, it was a display full of spirit and defensive discipline , a stark contrast to their last home outing against Salford. Despite not coming away with two points, head coach Tony Smith has spoken about how his side can look to build on that display.

“We talk about it and we practice as if we want it to happen again. There are no guarantees or magic formulas.”

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Leigh come into this clash with an identical record to the Black and Whites, and Smith is certainly aware of the questions they will pose to his side;

“They combine well and they’re working well together with a good attitude. They’ve got experienced players and players who have been there and done that. They’ve gained confidence from some of their performances. They’re earning respect, that’s for sure. They’re a good team.”

This weekend sees club captain Carlos Tuimavave involved in a match-day squad for the first time this campaign, as he returns from an Achilles injury which has sidelined the Centre since June 2022. Liam Sutcliffe also returns to the squad after a two-week absence, meanwhile Jordan Lane and Harvey Barron drop out.

As for Leigh, despite being beaten 38-20 last week by Warrington, they have proved to be tough opponents for some of the best sides in the competition . Head Coach Adrian Lam has been pleased on the whole with his team’s solid start to the campaign, but believes there is still more to come;

“It’s been steady away, we’ve built a really good base on who we want to be as a club.”

“In the sense of where we sit in the table we are equal fifth on the same points, so we are there or thereabouts and we need to stay in that range for now before we play our best rugby.”

Despite receiving many plaudits so far, Leigh will be hoping for a better performance than what they showed in defeat to an unbeaten Warrington side , something Lam has highlighted;

“In the context of the games I felt we could have won every game. Even against Warrington we did some really silly things even though we were soundly beaten. It will take time.

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Oliver Holmes makes a return to Lam’s matchday squad after only featuring in their opening round defeat to Salford on February 17th. Ben Reynolds also returns to the Leigh 21-man squad for the trip across the Pennines.

This weekend sees the two sides face off for the first time in just under six years, with Leigh winning the last encounter 26-22 in May 2017.

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