Wigan Warriors v St Helens: Preview

Challenge Cup TV games

In one of the most intriguing Good Friday derbies and recent years, the Wigan Warriors play host to nearest and dearest rivals St Helens at the DW Stadium.

The Warriors go into the game in a rare vein of poor form, having not won in their last four outings, but are boosted by the return of several senior players from injury.

Saints are also plagued by bad form. An accumulation of only 3 wins in 8 Super League games paired with some dull, uninspiring and monotonous rugby league being played was enough to make coach Keiron Cunningham the first managerial casualty of the season.

It will be captivating to see whether caretakers Jamahl Lolesi, Sean Long and Derek Traynor can muster some life into the Saints attack and turn their season around.

In recent weeks, the home side have not been firing on all cylinders. A good start to their title defence soon faded following a disappointing draw at home against lowly Huddersfield, whilst defeats against Hull FC, Leeds and Castleford have compounded their fall down the table.

If the Warriors needed further motivation to kick start their season, Friday’s visitors are only two points behind them in the league, however if there was ever a game to turn stimulate a revival, it’s a feisty local derby.

St Helens and their loyal supporters travel to Wigan with nothing to lose. In an Easter period where they are not expected to win a game, anything including a more expensive style of rugby would be celebrated.

A Wigan-Saints derby means the form book is thrown out of the window with anything being possible. Neither set of fans want to end up on the losing side, and will be expecting a bruising and exciting encounter.

Wigan make three changes to the squad that was defeated by Castleford, with hooker Michael McIlorum in line to make his first appearance in 14 months after recovering from a leg injury sustained in February 2016.

Other inclusions are Joe Burgess and captain Sean O’Loughlin, who are deemed fit following knee and calf injuries respectively. Anthony Gelling retains his place in the squad despite not featuring in the last two Warriors games, with Tony Clubb (back problem), Romain Navarrete and Nick Gregson missing out.

The visitors make two changes to their squad for the derby, with Matty Fleming and Dominique Peyroux making way for the returning Luke Thompson and Welsh winger Regan Grace.

Wigan Warriors: Anthony Gelling, Joe Burgess, George Williams, Thomas Leuluai, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Michael McIlorum, Ben Flower, Joel Tomkins, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Powell, Taulima Tautai, Ryan Sutton, Willie Isa, Morgan Escare, Joseph Bretherton, Liam Forsyth, Liam Marshall, Thomas Davies.

St Helens: Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Ryan Morgan, Mark Percival, Adam Swift, Theo Fages, Matty Smith, Alex Walmsley, Kyle Amor, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Luke Douglas, Adam Walker, Luke Thompson, Tommy Lee, Greg Richards, Morgan Knowles, Regan Grace, Zeb Taia.