Early team news ahead of Challenge Cup clash in France

Head Coach Kristian Woolf has provided some early team news ahead of Saturday’s huge Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter Final tie with Catalans Dragons in Perpignan live on BBCOne (2:30pm kick off UK time).

Props Alex Walmsley and Matty Lees and centre Will Hopoate will all be named in Thursday’s 21 man squad ahead of the knockout clash which will see the squad fly out to Perpignan on Friday.

Regan Grace, however, will be out with a hamstring sustained in the game at Whitehaven – an injury that will keep him out for three-to-four weeks according to the boss.

Also missing will be loose forward Jake Wingfield, who failed his Head Assessment at Leeds and must go through the 11-day protocol to return to play.

Sione Mata’utia is still out with his injury and faces another three to four weeks on the sidelines.

Coach Kristian Woolf said: “Al will be back. He is 100 per cent right.

“He was very close last week, but there are just a few boxes to be ticked before you can be 100 per cent confident that a player can come back and play from a hamstring injury.

“It was not a risk worth taking last week given who he is and what we have coming up this time of the year and the games we have to look forward to. It was a smart decision.

“Matty Lees will be right. He had an ankle injury from the Warrington – and probably in hindsight did not get the decision right playing him in Toulouse.

“He aggravated it and meant that he had to have a little bit longer after that. He is 100 per cent right now and will certainly be in the team.

“Will Hopoate is similar to Al, and he had not quite ticked every box to give a reassurance that he was ready to come back from a hamstring, so we held him back for a week.

“But he is 100 per cent right for this week.”

Welsh flyer Grace, who missed the opening six rounds of Super League with a bicep injury and then injured his hamstring in the cup tie at Whitehaven, will remain sidelined.

“Regan is going to be another three or four weeks and will be a similar sort of timeframe to Sione Mata’utia,” said Woolf.

“It is likely to be four weeks, but we hope it could possibly be shorter.

“It was just bad luck with the way he actually landed in the tackle at Whitehaven.”

Wingfield went off with a head knock at Leeds and because he did not come back on to the field, he is unable to play this weekend and he will therefore go through the 11-day protocol but he will be available for Wigan next week.

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