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01 Sep 2017 by TSZ

St Helens vs Wigan Warriors Preview

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The Lowdown

ST HELENS

  • St. Helens lost out narrowly to Leeds last time out as their pursuit of a semi-final berth faltered slightly. Saints are currently just one place and one point behind fourth-placed Wakefield.
  • Saints now face local rivals Wigan in a crucial encounter with the Warriors also sitting on 27 competition points, highlighting how important this game is for both sides.
  • Justin Holbrook will hand Ben Barba his debut after he completed a 12-game ban that carried over from his time in the NRL with Cronulla Sharks. Luke Douglas also returns from injury.

Head Coach: Justin Holbrook

Squad: Kyle Amor, Ben Barba, Luke Douglas, Theo Fages, Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees, Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Ryan Morgan, Mark Percival, Dominique Peyroux, James Roby, Matty Smith, Zeb Taia, Luke Thompson, Alex Walmsley, Jon Wilkin

Unavailable: Tommy Lee, Danny Richardson, Adam Swift, Jake Spedding

WIGAN WARRIORS

  • Wigan head into this crucial encounter looking to bounce back from the disappointment of Saturday's Challenge Cup Final loss against Hull FC.
  • A win here is essential to Wigan's hopes of booking a semi-final spot but they have only won one of their last seven Super League matches when playing away from home.
  • Tom Davies misses out again following his Wembley heartbreak having picked up an injury in the warm-up. Joel Tomkins is still struggling with a groin issue so he too drops out with Nick Gregson and Jack Wells coming into the squad.

Head Coach: Shaun Wane

Squad: John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Tony Clubb, Liam Farrell, Anthony Gelling, Oliver Gildart, Nick Gregson, Willie Isa, Thomas Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Michael McIlorum, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Sam Tomkins, Jack Wells, George Williams

Unavailable: Ben Flower (Achilles), Morgan Escaré (Knee), Dom Manfredi (Knee), Jake Shorrocks (Knee), Joel Tomkins (Groin), Tom Davies (Ankle)

Analysis - what to expect
Come 10pm on Friday night, one of these teams will be right in the hunt for a semi-final spot whilst the other will face the prospect of their season coming to a premature end. With both teams sitting on 27 points, it gives even more meaning to an already high-profile local derby. All eyes will be on debutant Ben Barba too with the superstar fullback finally set for his Super League bow. Saints are strong at home having won seven of their last eight league games on home soil as well as winning four of the last five league encounters between the two teams which sees them given the nod in this one.

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