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BIG SAM IS ON A KEY MISSION.

Byline: Chris Roberts Rugby League Writer chris.roberts@examiner.co.uk

SAM RAPIRA is ready to lead a Giants rise up the Super League XXI table.

The 28-year-old former New Zealand Test prop admits the start to his Huddersfield career hasn't quite gone according to plan. Like everyone else, he readily admits to being bitterly disappointed at being part of a Giants side that's won just one of their opening six 2016 top-flight fixtures.

But Rapira is convinced that when the wins start arriving and the confidence grows, his new club has the quality to sweep all before them in the competition and achieve great things.

"As starts to a season go, this is probably as tough as it gets," admitted the experienced front-row forward, who arrived from New Zealand Warriors on a two-year-deal for the start of this season.

"And what makes it even tougher to take is the fact that we know we're so much better than the League table suggests.

"We know we've only got ourselves to blame for losing the games we have, and that we're obviously being hurt pretty bad on the injury front. When you've not had a settled full-back, nine and halves combination, you know you can be really up against it, and we haven't had the luxury of this all year.

"On top of that, we've also suffered a fair share of injuries in the pack.

"Any club would struggle to a start to the year like ours.

"But none of us is dwelling on the past. We're still feeling positive about the future, and we can't wait for the day when we get up to full strength.

"Having said all that, I still expect us to go to Wakefield today and win."

And Rapira is determined to build on the strong start he's made to his Giants career.

"Personally, I'm not happy with the way things are going, because we've not been winning," he added.

"I have been accused of being a bit hard on myself and talking down my own contribution, and I think that's the reason why - the losses. I'll probably be happier with my own form when the wins start coming on a regular basis.

"When they do, I'm sure I'll really enjoy myself.

"From what I've experienced so far, I think my type of game suits Super League.

"It's just as physically demanding as the Australian NRL, but it's a bit slower around the ruck. That's probably down to the fact we have two referees for NRL games.

"But I' certainly not complaining. I like it that way, and it's given me the chance to get in a few offloads.

"Craig Huby's noted for that, and it'll be good to have him by my side this afternoon.

"He looks a good leader, is pretty calm and has bags of skill. Having him back (after missing the start of the season with a broken hand) is going to be a big plus."

And Rapira is also ready to approach the Easter double-header with an open mind, with the prospect of a trip to Wakefield today and a home clash against Salford Red Devils on Monday something he never experienced in the NRL.

"I'd never heard about this until I got here," he continued.

"Because I've never done this sort of thing before I don't know how the body will feel on Monday.

"But everyone else is in the same boat, so I'm not worrying about it.

"Instead, this is the chance to pick up two quick wins."

| Moldgreen's DRAM Centre will be hosting a Giants double-header tomorrow.

At 11am, the Under 16s Scholarship side is hosting Wake-field Trinity Wildcats, while at 2pm the Under 19s Academy team take on the North East Academy.

GOOD FRIDAY DERBY DAY SQUADS Wildcats: Chris Annakin, Joe Arundel, Matty Ashurst, Liam Finn, Ashley Gibson, Craig Hall, Stuart Howarth, Tom Johnstone, Ben Jones-Bishop, Max Jowitt, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Jonny Molloy, Scott Moore, Nick Scruton, Mickael Simon, Mikey Sio, Anthony Tupou.

Giants: Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Aaron Murphy, Danny Brough, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Craig Huby, Michael Lawrence, Larne Patrick, Kyle Wood, Sam Rapira, Ukuma Ta'ai, Jake Connor, Josh Johnson, Kruise Leeming, Nathan Mason, Oliver Roberts, Jared Simpson, Jamie Foster, Ryan Brierley.

Referee: Gareth Hewer.

CAPTION(S):

| Michael Lawrence will make his 200th Huddersfield Giants appearance at Wakefield today. The 25-year-old made his debut for his hometown club as a substitute in a 34-22 win at Warrington in August, 2007

| Sam Rapira is enjoying the challenge of playing in Super League with the Giants, but the fact his new club are struggling to pick up the wins has taken all the gloss of his start
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 25, 2016
Words:781
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