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Tigers and Giants win in Super League

Press Association logoPress Association 10/02/2017

Luke Gale racked up 24 points as Castleford hit the ground running in their England rugby league season opener and gave Leigh a rude awakening on their return to the Super League on Friday night (Saturday AEDT).

The Tigers, seen by many as dark horses for the title, were in imperious form at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle, running in seven tries to three in a 44-16 rout of the Centurions, who were given an early insight into the harsh reality of life in the top flight after a 12-year absence.

Castleford certainly made light of the absence of winger Denny Solomona, who scored a Super League record 40 tries in 2016 before quitting the club for rugby union, with replacement Greg Eden opening his account on his return to the club and fellow winger Greg Minikin scoring twice.

Even the loss of former Leigh stand-off Rangi Chase, who was roundly booed by the 1,000-strong visiting fans, with, appropriately a pain in the neck before half-time, did not adversely affect the Tigers as Ben Roberts slotted effortlessly back into the role on his return from a lengthy injury lay-off.

Elsewhere on Friday, Huddersfield made it a miserable start to the new Super League season for Widnes with an impressive 28-16 victory.

The Giants fell behind to an early Charly Runciman try but recovered to lead 20-6 at half-time with Jermaine McGillvary crossing twice before the break with Lee Gaskell and Tom Symonds also touching down.

Aaron Murphy and new skipper Leroy Cudjoe added second half tries in what was a polished performance.

Widnes boss Denis Betts opted to start with centre Chris Bridge partnering Tom Gilmore at half back in the absence of last season's pairing of injured Joe Mellor and Warrington recruit Kevin Brown.

The Vikings were missing suspended Manase Manuokafoa and injured Chris Dean, Eamon O'Carroll, Jack Buchanan and Alex Gerrard.

Huddersfield handed a debut off the bench to Australian prop Shannon Wakeman, the close season capture from Illawarra, but ex-Newcastle Knights full back Jake Mamo was sidelined with an ankle injury suffered in a motorcycle accident.

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