MATCH PREVIEW: v Catalan Dragons

Opponents: Catalan Dragons

Date: 08.07.2017

Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus

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

A look at the Opposition

In this section every week it seems like I comment on how the team Wigan are playing have potentially just turned a corner in their form. See Huddersfield, St Helens, Widnes and this week, Catalan.

Last week they were getting hammered at home against Leigh and they turned it around to win in the last minute. One week on, I still cant decide whether that was due to Catalans finding some great attacking form or whether Leigh bottled it – I assume it was a combination of both.

Catalan riding the crest of wave after the Leigh victory, only to have their bubble burst by Red Hall in midweek. Greg Bird, Fouad Yaha and Ben Garcia have all been banned for the visit of Wigan for their ill discipline against Leigh.

I wrote in my 18th man contribution this week that although Wigan’s chances are increased somewhat by these adsences, I am a little disappointed that Greg Bird has been banned. I was looking forward to watching Bird v Sean O’Loughlin, two international class 13’s who don’t take a backward step – lets hope they are both playing next year, as we have been robbed of that battle in 2017.

Steve McNamara, the new man in charge at Catalan, has been tasked with avoiding the middle 8’s and he has three games left in which to do that. A tough task but the number of very god players Catalan have, you wouldn’t put it past them to achieve 8th spot. The Middle 8’s this year are looking very difficult, London, Hull KR and Toulouse look like they could make the Top 4 in the Championship and avoiding that at all costs is a must for McNamara.

Catalans at home, are physical, brutal and normally give Wigan a very good game. I think they will have a bit of a backs against the wall attitude on Saturday and could really make it difficult for Wigan.

image-10

Team News

The Catalan Dragon’s 19 Man Squad:

  1. Tony GIGOT
    2. Jodie BROUGHTON
    3. Krisnan INU
    4. Brayden WILIAME
    6. Luke WALSH
    8. Sam MOA
    9. Paul AITON
    10. Rémi CASTY
    11. Louis ANDERSON
    12. Justin HORO
    14. Julian BOUSQUET
    17. Jason BAITIERI
    18. Vincent DUPORT
    22. Lucas ALBERT
    23. Alrix DACOSTA
    24. Paul SEGUIER
    25. Thibaud MARGALET
    26. Lambert BELMAS
    31. Nabil DJALOUT

Wigan 19 Man Squad:

catalan away

Wigan welcome back Tautai in place of Lewis Tierney.

Manfredi and Joel Tomkins are expected to be back for when the Super 8’s commence.

Thoughts on the Game

This will be my first time attending a Catalan – Wigan game in France and I cannot wait. Wigan were rusty in their victory over Widnes but the most important thing last week was that they won – the rot has been stopped and now Wigan have to ensure they continue to win. A defeat in the South of France cannot be on the agenda. Wigan face an uphill task to finish in the Top Four as it is and they cannot afford to drop points on Saturday.

Wigan will be buoyed by the missing Catalan players, along with their win last win and what I suggested is an improving defence from Wigan. Wigan’s run of defeats, although primarily blamed on injuries was poor mainly from the defensive point of view. Wigan and Shaun Wane pride themselves on brutal, uncompromising defence and that went missing during May and June. Although they conceded two tries last week, they were unfortunate and avoidable ones and I think that is the area Wigan know can give them half a chance of making the Top Four come September.

liam-farrell-v-hull-2017-w715h382

Their attack is rusty, there is no doubt about that, George Williams is perhaps frustrating many at the moment as since he signed his new contract, those early season performances have somewhat disappeared. However, he leads the assist charts in Super League by a comfortable distance and I do think the more game time Tomkins, Williams and Leuluai have together – the more fluid their attack will become. The inclusion of Tomkins in the attacking line has, I think, created more space for other players to exploit. The name Sam Tomkins prompts interest from opposition players, never mind what he may actually do with the ball.

I am expecting another win on Saturday from Wigan. Their victory in the South of France last year was perhaps one of their most convincing wins their in recent times and I am hoping (expecting) a similar outcome. This has to be the game in which attack and defence are improved and we watch a good Wigan victory which will leave little to grumble at.

See you in Spain / France !

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

  1. Tomkins
  2. Burgess
  3. Gildart
  4. Gelling
  5. Marshall
  6. Williams
  7. Leuluai
  8. Sutton
  9. McIlorum
  10. Nuuausala
  11. Farrell
  12. Bateman
  13. O’Loughlin

Sub. Powell

Sub. Isa

Sub. Wells

Sub. Tautai

A very strong side, again!

Last Time Around

Prediction

The Wigan Rugby Blog predicts:

Score: Catalan 10 – 32 Wigan

First Try Scorer: Sam Tomkins

Don’t forget, you can vote for your Man of the Match after the game at http://www.wiganrugby.blog or on our social media platforms on Twitter and Facebook

 

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