By Patrick Moore
Huddersfield RU face their biggest test of the season in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash against Rossendale.
The Field return to Lockwood Park six points ahead of their second-placed opponents after making it 12 wins from 12 against Cleckheaton.
And head coach Gareth Lewis, well aware that a win for the Lancashire side could put them within a point of the National III North leaders, has called for ruthlessness from his unbeaten sparklers.
“We want to be absolutely brutal up front, so there is no Rossendale player left standing at the end of the game,” said Lewis.
“We must have a dominant set-piece, strangulating defence and the ability to be ruthless in attack.”
The club are urging people to get down to Lockwood Park and cheer on the side in what promises to be a cracker between sides who are 22 matches unbeaten between them.
Lewis said: “We are expecting a huge contest between the two forms sides in the competition.
“They have a very strong squad, packed full of experience, so we know how good they will be.
“However, if we play to our potential I fully believe we can come out on top.”
Huddersfield have the best points scored, least points against and the best point difference in the league, but Rossendale have one more try bonus point and are in buoyant mood themselves after an 89-12 win against Firwood Waterloo.
Mark Nelson’s visitors haven’t lost since the opening two fixtures of the season.
They kicked off with a narrow opening-day loss to Wirral at home before Lymm beat them 36-18, but since then they have been unstoppable, and have failed to score more than four tries only once in their 10 straight wins.
The last, and only, time the two sides met was in the 2013-14 season, when Huddersfield won the National III North title.
Huddersfield beat Rossendale at Marl Pits Lane 21-13, but lost 14-13 at home thanks to a late converted try, meaning Rossendale have won on their only previous visit to Lockwood Park.
After numerous selection headaches, Lewis has made changes.
Captain Alex Battye returns in the forward line after playing with the Falcons, while Adam Malthouse, who scored a hat trick in the 40-0 thrashing of Cleckheaton’s second team, is called in at No8.
Following illness, Elliot Hodgson will return on the wing and Lewis Bradley also returns to the XV.
Lewis explained: “It was an extremely tough call leaving out someone like Ben Morrill on the bench, as he’s beginning to get back to his best.
“But he will come off the bench and will be looking to make a huge impact.
“I thought Lewis Bradley changed the tempo of the game against Cleckheaton, due to his ability to beat the first defender and generate quick ball.”
Huddersfield: Lewis Workman, Brandon Conway, Tom Owen, Mark Pease, Elliot Hodgson, Chris Bell, Joel Hinchliffe, Adam Malthouse, Ben Hoyle, Lewis Bradley, Austen Thompson, Nick Rhodes, Alex Battye (captain), Fran Entressengle, Callum Thompson. Replacements: Reuben Pollard, Ben Morrill, Danny Grainger.