Championship Round Eight: Predictions, TV coverage and kick-off times

Easter rugby league gets into full swing today with the two huge Super League derbies but there is also a full schedule of Championship rugby league to get stuck into.

Six of the seven fixtures are played today before a massive television clash on Monday night. Here’s all the information about each game that you need to know.

Barrow Raiders vs Whitehaven
Kick-off: 15:00
Prediction: Barrow 24-16 Whitehaven

The Cumbrian derby pits the Raiders against Haven and sees 13th host 12th in this bottom of the table clash. That’s a far cry from where Barrow were last season when they made the playoffs and they’d be hoping that their round seven win over Halifax can springboard them forward. Playing their local rivals will be the perfect time to record their second win and really push on.

Newcastle Thunder vs Sheffield Eagles
Kick-off: 15:00
Prediction: Newcastle 12-34 Sheffield

Following Barrow’s win in round seven Newcastle find themselves planted to the bottom of the table and they weren’t convincing in their weekend Challenge Cup victory over amateur side Rochdale Mayfield. Meanwhile Sheffield put in a poor first-half performance against York, but hit back with a huge second half but just fell short of a huge comeback. Regardless their squad should have far too much quality today, particularly given in their last league fixture they beat Toulouse.

Swinton Lions vs Widnes Vikings
Kick-off: 15:00
Prediction: Swinton 8-40 Widnes

Widnes crashed out of the cup at the weekend to League One Dewsbury and that prompted huge warnings from coach John Kear about the security of player positions in the squad. Since then they’ve recruited a Super League loanee and they’ll be incredibly fired up for their trip to Swinton who are on a five game losing streak.

Batley Bulldogs vs Featherstone Rovers
Kick-0ff: 15:00
Prediction: Batley 16-28 Featherstone

This game marks the first time these two have played in a competitive game since Batley knocked Featherstone off in last seasons play-off semi-final. Since then Featherstone have won seven from seven in the league whereas the Bulldogs have struggled. Both sides are boosted by incoming Super League loanees with Luke Hooley returning to Batley from Leeds, whilst Featherstone add to their pack with Yusuf Aydin and Albert Vete and that size and power should see them through.

Toulouse Olympique vs London Broncos
Kick-off: 17:00
Prediction: Toulouse 36-4 London

Toulouse will still be reeling from their loss to Sheffield and they’ve had two weeks to recover whereas London played this weekend in the Challenge Cup. That cup win over League One Doncaster marked their fourth win in a row but facing a Toulouse side that have won their three home games this season by an aggregate score of 166-10 means that the Broncos will be lucky to get away with just a 36-4 loss.

York Knights vs Keighley Cougars
Kick-off: 19:00
Prediction: York 32-18 Keighley

Both teams were in action at the weekend with York just hanging on to beat Sheffield whilst Keighley beat League One North Wales Crusaders. York did have to play much of that second half under the cosh and that effort will have certainly drained them. Nevertheless Andrew Henderson’s men should have too much for the Cougars.

Halifax Panthers vs Bradford Bulls
Kick-off: Monday 19:45
TV Coverage: Viaplay Sports
Prediction: Halifax 18-22 Bradford

The final Championship game comes on Monday evening and is set for TV coverage with Viaplay once again. It’s fifth vs sixth in this West Yorkshire derby and both teams are coming off very similar records. They both progressed in the Challenge Cup, where they will now face each other, and those victories came off the back of an upset loss in the league. It’s hard to gauge who will win this but with Halifax still set to miss try scorer Lachlan Walmsley, this game could just edge towards Mark Dunning’s side.

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