Opponents: Huddersfield Giants
Venue: DW Stadium, Wigan
A look at the Opposition
Last week’s defeat at home to Hull KR for Huddersfield looked woeful in front of the sky cameras. The late absence of Jake Mamo seemed to perhaps affect them more than they could possibly have expected. Despite the amount of possession, they had in the Hull KR 20m, they looked toothless with Danny Brough getting to his frustrated stage, quicker than I have seen in a long while.Embed from Getty Images
Their defence fell apart very easily and worryingly for the Giants, not necessarily close to their line, the number of clean breaks that KR made was ridiculous at times. However, Huddersfield have enjoyed playing Wigan over the past few seasons (except in the playoff games) with two draws between the two sides last year, can the Giants rally at the DW? Their squad is still looking depleted and weak in areas despite some players returning.
On last week’s performance, the Giants look condemned to the middle eights, but what a better way to change that perspective than with a win at the DW on Friday.Embed from Getty Images
With no game last week for Wigan, due to the postponement of the Castleford game, I suspect that Shaun Wane’s plans for this game have been altered somewhat. I would have expected a few changes for this game if the game at Castleford had gone ahead. However, it looks like a reversion to the same XIII that played against Widnes and the perceived strongest 17 – the team I would expect will line up against St Helens.
Joel Tomkins replaces Romain Navarrette in the squad and probably the 17 on Friday. Liam Marshall and Gave Hamlin also return to the 19 man squad but are unlikely to feature.
“Huddersfield Giants Head Coach Rick Stone has named his 19-man Giants squad which see’s the return of Michael Lawrence, Adam Walne and Daniel Smith to the team.
Meanwhile Jake Mamo remains on the side-line along with Tommy Symonds and added to the list of absentees is Oliver Roberts.”
Huddersfield Giants squad:
Thoughts on the Game
It’s easy to get carried away with the Good Friday derby on the horizon but this is the last test for Wigan to get confidence for that game – confidence amongst the players and fans. An 80-minute performance is needed in the build-up to the East fixtures. I am disappointed that Jake Mamo has to miss the game, I was looking forward to the test that he would have provided the Wigan defence, particularly with the fact that they will have Ben Barba to deal with the following week.Embed from Getty Images
Ikahihifo will provide a solid test for the Wigan forwards also but I do expect a clinical performance and result from Wigan. It will be interesting to see how the “switcheroo” takes place this week, whether Tomkins remains at fullback for the full 80 minutes as he did against Wakefield or whether they change it up again.
Looking at the 19 man squad, my Wigan line up for Friday would be the same as last week:
I/C. T. Tautai
I/C. R. Sutton
I/C. W. Isa
I/C. M. Escare
The Wigan Rugby Blog predicts:
Score: Wigan 42 – 0 Huddersfield
First Try Scorer: O. Gildart
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