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Betts targets Championship sides

12 August 2017 National Sport

Last Updated: 12/08/17 12:47pm

Denis Betts admits Widnes have little room for error following last week's loss to Warrington

Denis Betts admits Widnes have little room for error following last week’s loss to Warrington

Denis Betts accepts Widnes must beat all four Championship sides in the Qualifiers if they are to retain their Super League status.

The Vikings entered the eight-team mini-league as the lowest-ranked side from the top flight after losing their last four games of the regular season.

Last week’s home defeat by Warrington in their Qualifiers opener brought the threat of relegation into sharper focus and left Widnes with little room for error.

“The must-win games are against Championship sides,” said Betts.

“Whether it’s the second or third game, you’ve got to beat the Championship sides. We can’t hide from that fact.

“We know they’re going to be competitive and are striving for something more while we’re trying to protect something. That creates a different kind of focus.

“Ultimately, every single game against a Championship side is a must-win.”

Widnes suffered a 28-14 loss to Warrington in their Qualifiers opener

Sunday’s opponents Halifax were eight minutes away from opening the Qualifiers with a stunning win at Hull KR while London gave Catalans Dragons a major scare in the south of France.

Betts is under no illusions about how difficult it will be to achieve his target of four wins out of four.

He added: “London are a full-time outfit, Featherstone have got plenty of Super League experience in their group, Halifax have had a taste of it a couple of times and we know Hull KR are basically a Super League side playing in the Championship.

A late Hull KR fightback denied Halifax last Sunday

“It’s a tough competition. You’ve got four form teams playing against sides that have struggled with that momentum throughout the year.

“Ultimately, it’s not about how good the rugby is, it’s about gritting your teeth and surviving.”

Halifax secured their place in the Qualifiers the hard way by beating Toulouse, Featherstone and Hull KR in successive weeks. Betts has warned his side the trip to The Shay throws up different challenges.

“Richard Marshall has got them playing good rugby,” said Betts.

“I’ve seen their game against Hull KR and they’ve got some good quality players in their team. They play with good shape and understand what’s required.

“It’s always tough going to their place. It’s a different sized pitch, a different environment and a tough place to go and get a result at the best of times.

“But we’re taking a bit of confidence out of the Warrington performances and we seem pretty healthy at the moment.”

London won plenty of plaudits for their performance against Catalans

Featherstone travel to London in Sunday’s other game aiming to bounce back from their 38-12 home defeat by Leigh.

“We threw away our chance to win against Leigh but we won’t do that again,” said Rovers winger Misi Taulapapa.

“London are a team we have done pretty well against this year. We beat them at home and perhaps should have away, so we know what to do.

Featherstone were beaten 38-12 by Leigh last weekend

“A few people may have written us off in terms of our chances in the Qualifiers but we know a win or two will set the ball rolling and make us difficult to stop.

“A lot of people are talking about London after their performance against Catalans last week, but we are happy to fly under the radar.”

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