Match Preview v St Helens (25.05.17)

Opponents: St Helens

Date: 25.05.2017

Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium

Tickets: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/wiganwarriors/default.aspx

A Look at the Opposition

St Helens produced their best display of the season for their new coach Justin Holbrook at the weekend with their 45-0 victory over Hull FC at Magic Weekend. St Helens were excellent across the pitch, they played exciting expansive rugby at times but perhaps crucially, they completed their sets well and created a platform for Matty Smith to dominate the game with his kicking ability. Hull were poor but St Helens were very very good and what a performance to put in for a new coach, Ben Barba in the crowd considering a move to St Helens and with a derby to follow.

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St Helens have been able to, with the exception of Lomax, in recent weeks play their full strength 13 and they finally played like that on Saturday. It looks as though there is a huge contrast of emotions from the Good Friday meeting between the two sides. On Good Friday, Cunningham had just been sacked and there was an almost, backs against the wall vibe coming from the St Helens camp. It was a game they will have felt like they could have won but the early sending off of Kyle Amor made that task incredibly difficult. Contrast that with Thursday game, the rumoured signing of last years NRL winning fullback and the 2012 Dally M winner, Ben Barba. The complete performance against Hull FC and the first home game for new coach, Justin Holbrook. Wigan really are going into the lions den on Thursday, what a challenge!

Team News

Wigan’s 19 Man Squad:

st helens away

St Helens 19 Man Squad:

  1. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Theo Fages, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Tommy Lee, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 19. Greg Richards, 20. Morgan Knowles, 28. Regan Grace, 36. Zeb Taia.

Thoughts on the Game

Wigan welcome back Thomas Leuluai and Sam Powell to their squad, a much-needed boost to hopefully re-galvanise their attacking display which has recently faltered once again, mainly due to the constant enforced shuffling of playmakers. Michael McIlorum playing the full 80 minutes against Warrington gives a new added boost to the squad, knowing that he now has that ability back in his legs. With Powell back, I wouldn’t be surprised to see McIlorum move to 13 when O’Loughlin is spelled, with Powell moving to 9 – a very nice option to have against the inform James Roby.

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St Helens look good at the moment and full of confidence, however, Wigan will be relishing the opportunity to ruin the Justin Holbrook welcome party and put a 5 point gap between themselves and St Helens. You get the feeling that this is going to be a very good game with Wigan benefiting from players returning. The Good Friday game was lost with one player losing concentration and discipline and Thursday night may follow suite – whichever team manages it the occasion and controls their discipline will win.

Looking at the 19 man squad, my Wigan line up for Thursday would be:

  1. Tierney
  2. Marshall
  3. Burgess
  4. Forsyth
  5. Davies
  6. Williams
  7. Leuluai
  8. Sutton
  9. McIlroum
  10. Nuuausala
  11. Farrell
  12. Tomkins
  13. O’Loughlin
  14. Tautai
  15. Powell
  16. Field
  17. Isa

Prediction

The Wigan Rugby Blog predicts:

Score: St Helens 18 – 22 Wigan

First Try Scorer: Joe Burgess

Last Time Around:

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