Gold Rats due

IT SHAPES as a David v Goliath match-up but Southern Cross Uni coach John Jenkins feels his men are close to turning the corner.

Four losses on the trot doesn’t look great and it doesn’t get any easier today with the Gold Rats hosting premiers Lennox Head.

A long injury list crippled Uni before the season started and last weekend things got worse with centre pairing Matt Miles and Beau Wilks landing in the ward.

Jenkins wrapped up preparations with a few inflammatory texts to the opposition.

“I told them we are going to smash them,” Jenkins said.

“They had plenty to say in reply, don’t worry.

“Told us we better have plenty of student nurses and stretchers ready.”

The Trojans will be without representative stars Sam Stewart and Jeff Wilson – former Uni boy Steve Spinks makes his return to first grade in place of Wilson, while Harry Witt continues tofill in out wide for Stewart.

Table-toppers Lismore will host Wollongbar-Alstonville on a day the club is raising money for the Westpac Helicopter.

Scott Lancaster comes back in for the Greens, who have played entertaining rugby and racked up 18 tries in four games.

Coach Richard Hughes will not get complacent – he has his men on high alert. “We may be on top but we are taking nothing for granted,” Hughes said.

“Wollongbar are a sight unseen for me but I am confident if we can maintain our ball control our forwards will give us the edge.”

In the other game today, Casino travel south to take on Grafton, which is yet to register a win.

Injuries to tight forwards Ross Larsson (two weeks) and Mark McCormack (four weeks) leaves a hole in the Bulls pack.

Fly-half Nathan Quirk will also miss the match.

Coach Darren Winkler has put his faith in a youthful bunch who he believes can do the job.

All games start at 3.10pm.

Trojans stars Jeff Wilson and Sam Stewart will turn out for the unbeaten NSW Country Cockatoos against the Melbourne Axemen in Newcastle this afternoon.

Stewart, who scored the winning try against Sydney Suburbs last week, will again start from the bench, while Wilson has a big battle on his hands against a forward pack full of islanders.

“They are a physical pack,” Stewart said. “But I think Wilso is looking forward to it.”

Northern Rivers coaching duo Chris Hickey and Scott Wisemantel are also in action early on Sunday morning as their Waratahs tackle the Stormers in Cape Town for a place in the Super 14 final.

The match will be Wisemantel’s last in charge of the ’Tahs backline should they lose – he is set to return to Lennox Head when his duties with the franchise wind up this season.

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