Lee Mossop's sleepless nights over Covid-19 test result

Salford skipper Lee Mossop says he did not sleep for two nights after being told he may have contracted coronavirus on the eve of the Coral Challenge Cup final.
Lee Mossop won the Cup with Wigan in 2013Lee Mossop won the Cup with Wigan in 2013
Lee Mossop won the Cup with Wigan in 2013

Mossop and co-captain Mark Flanagan were on tenterhooks for 48 hours after their Covid-19 tests twice came back inconclusive before they were eventually cleared to face Leeds at Wembley on Saturday.

"It was awful, honest to God," said the former Wigan and England forward told a press conference.

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"I tend to be someone who doesn't really get fazed by much or get stressed but I didn't sleep for two nights. You had a 48-hour wait to see if you were able to play in one of the biggest occasions in rugby league."

While there was relief for Mossop he has sympathy for team-mate Dan Sarginson who, along with back-up player Jack Ormondroyd, was ruled out of Wembley after his Covid-19 test came back positive.

"It's absolutely devastating for them," he said. "I rang Sarge and, although he was devastated at the start of the week, he's managed to get his head round it.

"He was just petrified thinking he had possibly passed it on to me and Mark so, once we told him that we were fine, that was a massive relief. He said he wouldn't have forgiven himself if he had brought it into the camp.

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"I just feel for both of them, they've trained so hard, and Sarge in particular has been massive for us all season."

The loss of Sarginson has been offset by the availability of Castleford-bound first-choice full-back Niall Evalds, who has made a quicker-than-expected recovery from a knee injury.

"It's great to have Niall available," coach Ian Watson said. "He has run all week and he looks really good.

"He was never ever expected to get back fit enough for Wembley but he's worked so hard to put himself in this position.

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"Obviously he's leaving us at the end of the year so this could be a bit of a fairy tale for Niall."

Salford's march to their first Wembley appearance for 51 years comes just 12 months since they reached a maiden Grand Final but, after losing to St Helens at Old Trafford, Mossop says they need to win a trophy to prove they are a genuine top club.

"Almost immediately after the Grand Final last year we said we didn't want it to be a flash in the pan," said Mossop, who won the Cup with Wigan in 2011 and 2013.

"We want to start changing people's perceptions of the club and to do that you've got to do these regularly.

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"For it to mean anything and to have a solid effect, I think we have to win it tomorrow. We want to write our own history for ourselves but also for the club and the fans for what they've been through in recent years."

Probable line-ups for Saturday's Coral Challenge Cup final at Wembley:

Leeds: Myler; T Briscoe, Hurrell, L Sutcliffe, Handley; Lui, Gale (capt); Seumanufagai, Leeming, Oledzki, Mellor, Martin, Prior. Subs: Dwyer, Smith, Donaldson, Holroyd.

Salford: Evalds; Inu, Welham, Watkins, Williams; Lolohea, Brown; Mossop (capt), Lussick, Dudson, Greenwood, McCarthy, Yates. Subs: Flanagan, Ikahifiho, Pauli, Burke.

Referee: L Moore.