Operation rules out Hopkins for play-offs

Sam Hopkins
Sam Hopkins

LEIGH will go into the play off semi finals missing three first choice forwards.

Coach Paul Rowley today revealed Sam Hopkins will undergo a shoulder operation that will rule him out for the rest of the season.

Fellow backrower Tommy Goulden and prop Tom Spencer have already had surgery to try and get them ready for the 2015 campaign.

“I think it’s the right decision for Sam and us,” said Rowley. “We had considered delaying the operation till after the play-offs but I’ve got an eye on next season already.”

Hopkins joined Leigh from Wigan on loan earlier this year and will be on a season long loan with Centurions in 2015.

Rowley and his players are looking forward to a weekend off while the Championship play-off battle rages on this weekend.

It’s an unusual position to be in for Leigh who on Sunday enjoyed their first play-off win for 10 years against Doncaster.

Normally they’ve needed a second chance game to try and reach the semi finals but they’re there already.

Leigh will only know who they face next after Sunday’s games. The semi final will be played at the Sports Village on September 28 with the final at Headingley taking place on October 5.

“We did it tough against Doncaster,” said Rowley. “By the end we only had one fit sub so the week off will come in useful. We can observe what other teams are doing this weekend and the games – Doncaster v Sheffield and Halifax v Dewsbury – look like really interesting fixtures.

“We await our opponents but to win a play-off game after 10 years was nice. It has been a short week in training ahead of the our end of season awards on Friday then start a new build-up against whoever our opponents will be.

“We need to build and improve again as the competition goes on. The Grand Final has not been our focus this year – finishing top has – but we are in the play-offs so want to win it.”

Rowley praised the contribution of recent signings Jonny Walker and Michael Platt against Doncaster. Platt, the former Bradford centre, scored twice while Walker made an impact from the bench at a time in the game when Leigh were trailing and looking out of sorts. “I thought Platty looked unstoppable at times,” said Rowley. “He is a big presence with some good pace. We can play some good rugby when we want to and can be unstoppable when we get going.”

Rowley also revealed Matt Sarsfield played against Doncaster despite having tonsillitis.