Rugby League: Eagles gear up for Cup final

Misi Taulapapa tries to get through London Broncos defence. Picture: Glenn Ashley.
Misi Taulapapa tries to get through London Broncos defence. Picture: Glenn Ashley.

Sheffield Eagles must put the disappointment of their Challenge Cup exit behind them and swiftly prepare for a Cup final.

Mark Aston’s team lost their quarter-final to London Broncos but they face Leigh Centurions for the Northern Rail trophy on Saturday.

“The Challenge Cup was a dream and we lived the dream; it has ended and we move on,” he said.

“The dream now is that we get a bit of silverware. We have never won the Northern Rail Cup. We have to do a bit better.

“The lads are back in training today and we will start getting ready for a tough game. Leigh are a quality team led by a good coach and we will have to raise the bar.”

Aston didn’t feel his players showcased their abilities against London with the Super League team winning 29-10.

He said: “We made too many fundamental mistakes; we were knocking on early in tackles, we made six mistakes in the first three plays and that comes back and burns you later,” he said. “But Im immensely proud of the 17 players who went out there because defensively they looked very good and put their bodies where it needed to go at the right times but sometimes came a bit unstuck.”

Aston was convinced that London’s third try just after half-time should have been ruled offside by the video ref.

He said: “Probably the turning point of that game was that try. Someday, someone will explain to me that try in the far corner.”

He added: “Credit to London as they were targeting the ball and caught us a little bit. That’s not an excuse. We carried the ball a bit loose into contact which is probably the difference between the Championship and the Super League.

Aston was boosted by the attendance of 2,459 for the last Challenge Cup game to be played at Don Valley before the stadium is demolished.

“The public of Sheffield got behind us and it was a great crowd and a great atmosphere,” he said. “Hopefully we have shown if we got back into Super League that the fans would come back.”