Huddersfield Giants will be waiting on the fitness of former New Zealand international forward Sam Rapira as they prepare for their trip to Wigan Warriors in the Super 8s.
The 30-year-old prop, who the Giants signed from New Zealand Warriors in 2016, damaged rib cartilage in the 36-6 home win over Wakefield Trinity and faces a race against time to be fit for Friday’s trip to the DW Stadium.
“We will have to see the exact extent of the injury, but it doesn’t appear to be broken,” said Giants head coach Rick Stone.
“But there is definitely some rib cartilage damage and he was in quite a bit of pain when he came off.
“We will have to see how he comes through the next couple of days and that will give us an indication of whether he will be available for the Wigan game or not.”
Stone’s squad could be boosted by the return of 27-year-old back rower Michael Lawrence for the game against the Warriors, but again it could be a case of wait and see.
“Michael was pretty close for the game against Wakefield,” explained Stone.
“But we decided to give him a bit more time and again it will be 50-50 as to whether he plays at Wigan.”
However, a bonus was the return against Wakefield of centre Jordan Turner after a hamstring strain had kept the 28-year-old capture from NRL outfit Canberra Raiders out of the side.
“Jordan was good, but a bit quiet which understandable after a few weeks out,” said Stone.
“But he managed to play for the full 80 minutes, which was a real positive, and he will get better every game he plays over the next couple of weeks.”
The Giants travel to Wigan knowing that it is make or break in the Super 8s with both teams needing a victory to stay in touch with the chase for the top four.
Wigan were beaten 32-16 at Leeds Rhinos in their first outing of the Super 8s and Stone was expecting another tight contest – especially after Super League’s regular season produced a 16-16 draw at the DW Stadium in March and a 19-19 stalemate at the John Smith’s Stadium in June.
“All the Super 8s games are going to be big tests and we are perhaps the outsiders in the competition,” said Stone.
“However, being the outsiders suits us fine and we are happy having made a good start, but it really is a case of taking it one week at a time.
“We have to make sure our preparation is goods for the Wigan game, and we have already had a couple of good clashes with them this year with draws home and away.
“They have been competitive contests and I think Wigan have perhaps lifted their game in recent weeks as their performance in the Challenge Cup semi-final showed – but we are looking forward to it.”
Stone was suitably pleased with the winning start against Wakefield, and with the final try of the game which Daniel Smith finished after some Harlem Globetrotters style passing in the build up.
“It was nice to see the guys playing with a bit of freedom,” said Stone.
“There is not a lot of expectation on our team in the Super 8s, but I think our final try showed that our guys have got some skill and that they are enjoying what they are doing – it was a great way to conclude a good win.
“And it was the right start to the Super 8s for us and we have managed to take the impetus and momentum from the Super League season and show that we can compete against the top eight teams.
“Hopefully now we can have a bit of a crack at the top four.”
Wakefield Trinity prop Adam Walker has been suspended by the Rugby Football League under UK Anti-Doping protocol after testing positive for cocaine.
The 26-year-old Giants academy product was drug tested after Trinity’s win at Widnes on July 14.
Under the regulations he is banned from all training and playing activity.