Hemel Stags duo sidelined for Crusaders clash

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Hemel Stags will be forced into a number of changes to their side for Sunday’s clash with North Wales Crusaders at Pennine Way.

Chad Sharpe is unavailable for selection due to a knee injury while Barry-John Swindells’ broken foot means he faces several weeks on the sidelines.

The Stags lost 22-20 against South Wales Scorpions last week, and coach Troy Perkins said: “We were a little bit unlucky and we shouldn’t have lost.

“If anyone had said during pre-season that we’d be right in the game with London Skolars and be we’d be ahead against South Wales and just get pipped, I’d have taken that. We’re heading in the right direction.”

North Wales Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths, meanwhile, is aiming to complete a 100 per cent record in the Northern Rail Cup group stages, having already secured three wins this year.

However, the experienced Welshman insists his side will not be underestimating Hemel’s strength.

Griffiths said: “We’re full of respect for them. There will be no complacency and no taking it lightly from us. We’re not taking anything for granted.”

Victory for the Crusaders would give them a place in the inaugural Northern Rail Bowl final.

“If we do get to the final, it’ll be one of my best ever moments in rugby league,” said Griffiths.

“Just 16 months ago there was no North Wales Crusaders and yet here we are on the brink of a major final.”

Sunday’s game gets under way at 3pm.