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Richard Gore Previews Saturday’s Top Of The Table Clash

The top two clubs in the division play each other on Saturday in what is one of the biggest games of rugby union seen in Hull for many years. Both sides aspire to win this league with Hull holding a nine-point advantage over their near rivals Rotherham who have a game in hand over Hull. The last time Hull did other than win a game, was before Christmas at Rotherham, where they lost a tight game 20-15 only going down in the final minute. Hull’s only other loss was in the first game of the season to Stourbridge, a result they gained ample revenge for when Stourbridge conceded over 40 points on their visit to Hull just after New Year.

Rotherham have only lost once this season in an away fixture to Fylde but they have had two draws against Bourneville and Sedgley Park. These results are interesting, but will count for little when these two promotion candidates meet on Saturday.

Coach Gary Pearce and his colleagues have worked hard with their squad and seen a fine defensive side develop into a team that can score from all areas of the field. They pose a threat to any side they play against but they will be tested on both fronts on Saturday.

Hull’s team news is that they welcome back into the squad combative scrum half Harvey Harding and although there will be fitness tests for a couple of players who picked up knocks from last week, it is expected that everyone should be available who played against Harrogate.

Hull will welcome a better playing surface than they experienced in last week’s match. It was great credit to the home side that they were able to stage the game at all but foot holds for both sides were treacherous. The better conditions this weekend will benefit Hull in all areas of their game.

Hull have been in very good form since their reverse at Rotherham and whilst some may point to the fact that Rotherham recently just shaded Luctonians by two points as a pointer to this fixture it has to be said that they have a habit of winning games ‘’ugly’’ as their coach Adam Byron has said more than once this season.

Both sides have reliable goal kickers with Rotherham’s full back Matt Minogue having taken over that role earlier in the season being in good form and Hull having seen their off half and captain Simon Humberstone keep the scoreboard ticking over nicely in every match he has played in.

It is a difficult call as to who will come out on top and the goal kickers will almost certainly play a significant part in the outcome.

It will take a very good side to halt Hull’s wonderful winning run and the home side will do everything to keep that run going against their nearest rivals and could well just have the advantage in what will be a hard fought affair.

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