POCHING PRAISES FORWARDS

Assistant coach Willie Poching praised his side’s forwards after they came through a testing pre-season game at Featherstone.

Assistant coach Willie Poching praised his side’s forwards after they came through a testing pre-season game at Featherstone. Rhinos – including a mixture of academy players and fringe first-teamers – ran in eight tries against a young Featherstone team, but they trailed 8-0 early on and had their line breached five times in total. Assistant-coach Willie Poching admitted it was far from a convincing performance. "It was a bit mixed," he told the Yorkshire Evening Post. "We had some very good moments, but we also had momentary lapses. "They broke us a few more times than we’d have liked and they scored some tries when it was very uncharacteristic for some of our people to be missing tackles in that fashion. All credit to Featherstone, they never gave in. "They played some good footy right to the end. They asked some questions and sometimes we didn’t have the answers. But we stuck at it and we had just enough capabilities to get us home. A lot of the boys have played three games in 12 days and that has been a tough ask. "We’ve got to take that into consideration when looking at this performance. For them to play the type of football they did, I am very proud of them." Of individual performances, Poching said: "The front-rowers were very good. Nick Scruton and Luke Burgess played very well and Ryan Bailey showed some good touches. They added some experience to our team. I thought Ben Jones-Bishop was very good at full-back as well. "He shone out. He is growing the more games he gets and the longer he’s at the club. He is starting to fill out and become a very good player. He had a good game on the wing at Hunslet on New Year’s Day, we put him back to full-back for this game and he took his chance. "He read the game well. He glides when he runs and he’s very deceptive in that sense." Rhinos’ victory was marred by an injury to forward Carl Ablett – a member of last year’s Grand Final-winning side – who limped off after just seven minutes. The player was being assessed by Rhinos’ medical staff today. "He has tweaked his hamstring," said Poching. "We’re not sure of the severity of it at the moment."