Date: Saturday September 5, 2015
Venue: The Den
Kick off: 15:00
Referee: Ben Thaler
Wigan Warriors: John Bateman, Matty Bowen, Joe Burgess, Josh Charnley, Tony Clubb, Dom Crosby, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Oliver Gildart, Dom Manfredi, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Sean O’Loughlin, Larne Patrick, Sam Powell, Matty Smith, Taulima Tautai, Joel Tomkins and George Williams.
Catalans Dragons: Morgan Escare, Todd Carney, Scott Dureau, Olivier Elima, Ian Henderson, Zeb Taia, Louis Anderson, Thomas Bosc, Jeff Lima, Eloi Pelissier, Elliott Whitehead, Ben Garcia, Julian Bousquet, Antoni Maria, Jason Baitieri, Tony Gigot, Thibaut Margalet, Krisnan Inu, Jordan Sigismeau.
Last 10 Meetings:
Catalans 58-16 Wigan (SLR15 23/5/15)
Wigan 34-0 Catalans (SLR10 12/4/15)
Catalans 16-37 Wigan (SLR20 12/7/14)
Wigan 22-16 Catalans (SLR7 28/3/14)
Catalans 22-8 Wigan (SLR25 17/8/13)
Wigan 38-0 Catalans (SLR6 8/3/13)
Wigan 46-6 Catalans (SLPOSFE 14/9/12)
Catalans 14-36 Wigan (SLR17 9/6/12)
Wigan 36-12 Catalans (SLR5 4/3/12)
Wigan 44-0 Catalans (SLPOPSF 25/9/11)
Wigan Warriors take their home Super 8s game against Catalans Dragons on the road to The Den, home of Millwall Football Club, on Saturday afternoon.
Despite having not lost at the DW Stadium in over a year, head coach Shaun Wane is in favour of switching the game to London: “I’m very happy about it,” he told Sporting Life. “There’s a lot of positives that far outweigh the negatives.”
“I genuinely believe we’ve got the best game in the world and to take it to our capital with all the blue-chip companies there, we have to do it.
“And we’re doing it with an international-type game against the Catalans. There’s lots of French people in London.”
The Cherry and Whites could cut the gap on league leaders Leeds Rhinos to two points with a win, while the Dragons will be aiming to go above Warrington Wolves into 6th place in the table – for 24 hours at least.
Wane welcomes back a quartet of players that missed the 28-0 drubbing of the Wolves a fortnight ago; Taulima Tautai, Joe Burgess, Micky McIlorum and Anthony Gelling all return while Ryan Hampshire, Liam Farrell and Ryan Sutton all drop out.
The last time the two sides met back in May the Dragons cruised to a 58-16 win, but forward Joel Tomkins believes his side are better prepared for Catalans this time around: “It’s not a case of ‘we owe them one’ or anything like that, but we feel in a better place than we were then. We’re more settled, and we can hopefully do a job,” he told Wigan Today.
“We’ve seen how dangerous they are on their day. Their team sheet is as good as any, if not better. They have threats everywhere.
“Sometimes it depends which Catalans turn up, but we’ll prepare for them to be at their best. We really have to be on our mettle.”
If he features on Saturday, it will be Tomkins’ 150th Super League appearance for Wigan.
Laurent Frayssinous’ men swept aside Castleford at the Stade Gilbert Brutus last time out but are now out of contention for a top four place.
The 44-26 win over the Tigers was only their second in seven matches, and the French side haven’t won outside Perpignan since early April.
The Dragons are without Vincent Duport, Michael Oldfield, Remi Casty, Greg Mounis, Fouad Yaha; while Ben Pomeroy starts a six-match ban.
Thibaut Margalet replaces the suspended Pomeroy in the only change to the side that won so convincingly two weeks ago.
Catalans last won an away fixture against Wigan back in April 2011 – one of only two victories over the Warriors on the road in the club’s history.
Dragons prop Jeff Lima will line up against his former club and Tony Gigot will look to add to the six tries he’s scored in his last four matches.
Prediction: Warriors by 20 – Catalans don’t travel well and Wigan will be looking to put on a show in the Capital. The Warriors have been impressive in defence recently too, conceding just 69 points in their last five Super League games, suggesting the Dragons will have their work cut out on Saturday.