Wigan Warriors will look to cut down St Helen’s lead at the top of the table as they host the Catalan Dragons on Friday night at the DW Stadium.
Shaun Wane has made just the one change from the side that was beaten in last week’s derby fixture against St Helens.
Ollie Partington comes into the 19 man squad to replace fellow youngster Liam Paisley. Chris Hankinson, who impressed on his Super League debut against the Saints, is expected to keep to his place in the side.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: John Bateman, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Morgan Escare, Ben Flower, Joe Greenwood, Gabe Hamlin, Chris Hankinson, Willie Isa, Samy Kibula, Tommy Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Romain Navarette, Ollie Partington, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Taulima Tautai, Sam Tomkins, Josh Woods
Head coach Steve McNamara has one eye on next week’s Challenge Cup Semi-Final as he has rested a whole host of his star players for this fixture.
A total of seven changes has been made to the squad with David Mead, Remi Casty, Ben Garcia, Mickael Simon, Lewis Tierney, Benjamin Jullien and Josh Drinkwater all being rested.
Ian Thornley, Lucas Albert, Antoni Maria, Alrix Da Costa, Lambert Belmas, Ugo Perez and Mickael Goudemand come into the side and will be hoping to make an impression for next week’s crucial semi-final.
Catalan Dragons 19-man squad: Jodie Broughton, Iain Thornley, Brayden Wiliame, Fouad Yaha, Samisoni Langi, Sam Moa, Louis Anderson, Greg Bird, Julian Bousquet, Jason Baitieri, Michael McIlorum, Lucas Albert, Antoni Maria, Alrix Da Costa, Lambert Belmas, Ugo Perez, Tony Gigot, Mickael Goudemand, Kenny Edwards
HEAD TO HEAD
The Warriors have won nine of the previous ten fixtures of the Dragons with the French side’s last win coming in May 2015 when they were victorious by 58 – 16.
Since then Wigan have won seven matches on the bounce against Catalan with the last win coming earlier in the season back in April.
In a game that looked like Catalan would win at a canter, the Warriors scored six second half tries in a 25 minute spell to stun the dragons who were leading 21 – 0.
Dan Sarginson, Oliver Gildart, Joe Burgess, Liam Farrell, Sam Tomkins and Tony Clubb were on the scoresheet to help their side comeback from behind.
Benjamin Jullien, David Mead and Ben Garcia, as well as five conversions and a drop goal from Tony Gigot wasn’t enough on the day.
KEY BATTLE – Thomas Leuluai v Michael McIlorum
Former Wigan man Michael McIlorum makes his first return to the DW stadium to face his former club and will be up against the experienced Thomas Leuluai at hooker.
It’s to be a fascinating match up come game day due to the sub plots surrounding McIlorum, but at the heart of it is two players who will be tasked with getting their side on the front foot from the play-the-ball.
The first that has markers on the back foot will go a huge way to helping their respective side to the two competition points.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 27th July 2018
Venue: The DW Stadium
Referee: S. Mikalauskas
WHO WILL WIN?