Championship Round Ten: Kick-off times, TV coverage and predictions including big upset

Domestic rugby league took a break last week giving the 14 Championship sides a much-needed break but the action is back this weekend with seven more fixtures.

Featherstone went into the break unbeaten and will hope to extend their winning streak in the league to ten this weekend, whilst the likes of Toulouse and Sheffield lead the pack to chase them down.

The biggest news in rugby league of the international break, barring the actual international fixture, was Luke Gale’s departure from Keighley with the former Man of Steel leaving the Cougars in eighth spot following his short stint.

Here’s a preview of all the action with kick-off times, predictions and TV coverage noted too.

Swinton Lions vs Toulouse Olympique

Kick-off time: Saturday 15:00pm
Prediction: Swinton 8-42 Toulouse

The home side have struggled since coming up from League One and their losing run in all competitions currently stands at seven, with round three signifying their last win. As for Toulouse they’ve won four of their last five, having bounced back well from a loss to Sheffield. Whilst some players did feature for the national side Toulouse kept back some players per reports and they should be fit and firing for this one, and ultimately far too strong for the Lions.

Newcastle Thunder vs Halifax Panthers

Kick-off time: Sunday 14:00pm
Prediction: Newcastle 14-28 Halifax

Newcastle are without a win in the league since the opening round, drawing just once since and beating two amateur sides in the Challenge Cup. That period has seen them only play twice at home but conceding an average of 40 points doesn’t bode well. As for Halifax they’ve got the competition’s leading try scorer in Lachlan Walmsley and coming fresh off two impressive wins over York and Bradford (26-0) they should have far too much for Chris Thorman’s side.

Barrow Raiders vs Bradford Bulls

Kick-off time: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: Barrow 14-22 Bradford

Bradford have been up and down of late but that’s more than can be said of Barrow who have generally struggled this season. A shock win over Halifax has been the highlight but to date that’s their only league win, and it’s doubtful that they add a second win this weekend. Bradford will be reeling from their embarrassing Challenge Cup hammering at the hands of West Yorkshire rival Halifax and it’s likely that the Bulls bounce back in strong fashion in Cumbria on Sunday.

Featherstone Rovers vs Sheffield Eagles

Kick-off time: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: Featherstone 20-24 Sheffield

Could this be the week that the unbeaten run ends? We’re punting that it will be and that Mark Aston will mastermind a victory over Featherstone. As evidenced by their loss to Halifax in the Challenge Cup, Rovers are beatable and Sheffield are very strong opposition. Combine the factors in that Sean Long was involved with France over the international break and the fact this past week has marked the anniversary of Sheffield Eagles historic Challenge Cup victory, maybe this could be the game that throws doubt onto a Championship that’s currently looking like a procession.

Whitehaven vs Keighley Cougars

Kick-off time: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: Whitehaven 22-18 Keighley

The Cougars lost Luke Gale to Wakefield this past week and they’ve also lost their last two games conceding 34 points in each. Meanwhile Whitehaven have been in impressive form winning three of their last four, being edged out by two points in the other. Haven is a tough place to travel to and they can certainly edge this fixture.

York Knights vs London Broncos

Kick-off time: Sunday 15:00pm
Prediction: York 26-14 London

The Knights haven’t been in brilliant form but they should have too much for London, especially given Andrew Henderson has had two weeks to get his team back on track. York have played plenty of games at home this season but have failed to make it a fortress, however they face a team that doesn’t travel well in London who have lost three of their five away fixtures.

Batley Bulldogs vs Widnes Vikings

Kick-off time: Monday 19:45pm
TV Coverage: Viaplay Sports 1
Prediction: Batley 24-28 Widnes

The Monday night TV game has seen some brilliant contests this season and this should be no different with 7th placed Batley hosting 4th placed Widnes. Both teams have won three of their last five in the league and Batley have found form at home losing just once since opening day, and that came at the hands of Featherstone in a tight affair. John Kear will have the air of invincibility though this weekend given the anniversary of his Sheffield Eagles’ Challenge Cup win and he’s certainly a man who can mastermind a victory.

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