Super League’s top two meet in a massive derby clash. Here’s everything you need to know…
Shaun Wane makes three changes to the squad that suffered a 20-12 defeat at Huddersfield Giants last Thursday.
Centre Chris Hankinson goes straight into the squad after signing this week from Swinton Lions, Dan Sarginson is fit again after missing the last three matches, and Joe Greenwood returns from injury to face his former side.
Sean O’Loughlin and Oliver Gildart suffered calf and thumb injuries respectively at Huddersfield, while Oliver Partington drops out. Samy Kibula keeps his place after an impressive debut.
Wigan Warriors 19-man squad: Tomkins, Davies, Sarginson, Powell, Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Bateman, Tautai, Isa, Escare, Marshall, Navarette, Hanlin, Woods, Kibula, Paisley, Greenwood, Hankinson.
Coach Justin Holbrook is forced to make just the one change from last Friday’s 34-18 win at Hull FC.
Zeb Taia suffered a dislocated thumb in that game and misses out on the derby as a result, with Jack Ashworth potentially returning from dual reg partners Sheffield Eagles.
Saints could extend the gap between themselves and the Warriors to ten points with victory.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift, Fages, Roby, Amor, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Peyroux, Richardson, Grace, Lees, Ashworth, Barba.
EXCLUSIVE: Saints can replicate 2006 treble but aren’t ‘unbeatable’, warns Lee Gilmour
HEAD TO HEAD
St Helens ended their Good Friday hoodoo over their rivals the last time the two met, winning a quality game 21-18 for a first Easter win since 2009.
Despite those successive defeats Saints had actually gone on to win the reverse regular season fixtures each year since 2012.
Both sides have won five of the last ten meetings, but Wigan have won six of the last eight clashes on home soil and are unbeaten at the DW Stadium this season.
KEY BATTLE – Sam Tomkins vs Ben Barba
Ben Barba is undoubtedly the first player than any side need to stop if they want to defeat Saints, with the full-back racking up 22 tries and the same number of assists this season.
Opposite him Wigan have a match-winner of their own though, with Sam Tomkins nearing the kind of form that made him the world’s most expensive player.
He is a huge influence on their attack but Barba has been on another planet, and it will require a huge effort from Tomkins and the rest of his team to stop him and claim victory.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Thursday 19th July
Venue: DW Stadium
Referee: Robert Hicks
WHO WILL WIN?