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14 Apr 2017 by TSZ

Wigan Warriors vs St Helens Preview

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The Lowdown

WIGAN WARRIORS

  • Wigan have lost their last three matches in a row and are a month without a win so their motivation will be higher than usual to bounce back against rivals St Helens in this Good Friday blockbuster.
  • Hooker Michael McIlorum returns after 14 months out with an ankle problem and they are also boosted by the return of captain Sean O'Laughlin and Joe Burgess which strengthens them significantly.
  • They are still without a whole host of players, but the return of the trio for Tony Clubb, Nick Gregson and Romain Navarrete represents a major upgrade on their recent selections.

Head Coach: Shaun Wane

Squad: Joe Bretherton, Joe Burgess, Tom Davies, Morgan Escaré, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Liam Forsyth, Anthony Gelling, Willie Isa, Thomas Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Michael McIlorum, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Joel Tomkins, George Williams

Unavailable: Oliver Gildart (Back), Jack Wells (Ankle), Sam Tomkins (Ankle), Dom Manfredi (Knee), John Bateman (Shoulder), Jake Shorrocks (Knee), Lewis Tierney (Knee), Callum Field, Josh Ganson, Tony Clubb, Nick Gregson, Romain Navarrete

ST HELENS

  • After leading 14-0 at home to Huddersfield only to be pegged back 14-14 by full-time, that poor result and performance has cost coach Kieron Cunningham his job as the club sacked him on Monday.
  • With Cunningham departing after 24 years at the club as a player and coach, the reins are handed to coaching trio Sean Long, Jamahl Lolesi and Derek Traynor to lead the side for the foreseeable future.
  • Matty Fleming and Dominique Peyroux both drop out of the squad for this game with Luke Thompson and Regan Grace coming into the 19 for this televised midday kick off which starts the post-Cunningham era.

Head Coach: Sean Long, Jamahl Lolesi & Derek Traynor

Squad: Kyle Amor, Luke Douglas, Theo Fages, Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles, Tommy Lee, Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Ryan Morgan, Mark Percival, Greg Richards, Matty Smith, Adam Swift, Zeb Taia, Luke Thompson, Adam Walker, Alex Walmsley, Jon Wilkin

Unavailable: James Roby (Knee), Danny Richardson, Calvin Wellington, Jack Ashworth, Jack Owens, Matty Fleming, Dominique Peyroux


Analysis - what to expect
It is hard to remember another Wigan/Saints clash that saw both sides coming into it in such poor form, which ramps up the pressure and intensity in this match. The departure of Cunningham adds a different dimension to it, while Wigan are the side with the most absentees although they have some key men back here. At home and after four matches without a win, the return of the likes of O'Laughlin and Burgess should see them edge a closely fought game.

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