Date: Friday 8th May 2015
Venue: DW Stadium
Wigan Warriors 19 man squad: John Bateman, Matty Bowen, Joe Burgess, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Liam Farell, Ryan Hmpshire, Dom Manfredi, Michael McILorum, Lee Mossop, Sean O’Loughlin, Larne Patrick, Sam Powell, Can Sarginson, Matty Smith, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Joel Tomkins, George Williams.
Castleford Tigers 19 man squad: Ryan Bailey, Ryan Boyle, James Clare, Michael Channing, Liam Finn, Luke Gale, Ash Gibson, Lee Jewitt, Will Maher, Frankie Mariano, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Junior Moors, Ben Roberts, Ash Robson, Michael Shenton, Jordan Tansey, Jake Webster, Scott Wheeldon.
Last Five Meetings
Castleford Tigers 42-14 Wigan Warriors. Rd 4, 6th March.
Wigan Warriors 46 – 6 Castleford Tigers. Rd 16, 13th June 2014.
Wigan Warriors 4 – 16 Castleford Tigers. CC Quarter Final, 7th June 2014.
Castleford Tigers 36 – 31 Wigan Warriors. Rd 4, 9th March 2014.
Wigan Warriors 4 – 18 Castleford Tigers. Rd 20, 13th June 2013.
Both sides welcome players back into their squads as the Castleford Tigers look to shock the league’s current in-form side, the Wigan Warriors.
Josh Charnley and Sean O’Loughlin come into the Warrior’s squad, who will be looking to avenge their 42-14 defeat away at the Tiger’s earlier in the season. Shaun Wane has very few injury concerns for his squad, who will no doubt go into the match in very high spirits.
Castleford, on the other hand, continue to be in something of an injury crisis. Andy Lynch, Nathan Massey and Scott Moore all drop out of the 19 which beat Catalan 36-28 last week, the latter after playing the full match with a broken foot. Denny Solomona again misses out after pulling out of last week’s warm up. Better news is the return of James Clare, Ben Roberts, Junior Moors, Adam Milner and Jake Webster for the Tigers, all of whom missed last week.
Wigan are in impressive form. They have won their last four fixtures – twice nilling their opponents – including their barnstorming 60-0 victory over Hull KR last week. Shaun Wane doesn’t need to give his squad much motivation to carry on that form either; with the chance to further catch Leeds and to avenge Shaun Wanes ‘worst night’ as a coach when they lost to Cas earlier in the year.
Castleford look to have grown a resilience since their shaky start to the season. From losing four of their opening five matches up to fifth in the table – Cas have a steel about them at this point in the year that will stand them in good stead against a rampant Wigan outfit. Players slowly returning is a boost, but you have to wonder how much the loss of Lynch down the middle will leave them light against a powerful and skilful Wigan front-line.
Interestingly, Cas have been something of a bogey-team for Wigan recently. Their dramatic 36-31 victory at home last season was followed up by them becoming the first team for 28 years to beat Wigan at home in the Challenge Cup, since Cas themselves did it in 1986. In 2013 Cas recorded a famous league win away at Wigan in one of Daryl Powell’s first games in charge, and he’ll be hoping for this trend to continue. In fact, Wigan’s only victory over the Tigers in their last 5 meetings was a 46-6 triumph over a much-weakened Cas team, only 5 days after that Cup loss.
Expect fireworks, at least from Wigan. Cas are strong in defence, and have proven recently they can soak up pressure and take their chances clinically when needed. If the game stays tight, Cas have every chance of winning, however I fear that Wigan may apply for more pressure than Daryl Powell’s team have been used to in previous weeks. A tough day out in Lancashire predicted for the Tigers. Cas won’t roll over like KR did, but even though their record in Wigan is good I still expect Wigan will be too strong.
Prediction: Wigan to win by 14 in a high-scoring game.