Castleford Tigers v Wigan Warriors: Preview

Greg Eden England

Saturday night plays host to a huge top of the table match-up between the Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors. The teams sit first and third respectively, with only one solitary point separating the two. The last time the teams met ended with a decisive 27-10 victory for the Tigers away at Wigan, with the Warriors looking to reverse this and push on in their bid for back-to-back Super League titles.

Castleford enter the game on the back of two consecutive defeats for the first time this season, and will be looking to restart their campaign this week against Wigan. After a good win against Wakefield on Good Friday, the Tigers Easter turned sour with two away defeats at St Helens and 12-man Hull FC.  After going 18-0 down in their most recent match, the Tigers showed resilience to fight back and move into a position to take the victory, however a determined Hull side put on arguably their best performance of the year and fully deserved the win.

Meanwhile, the visitors enjoyed a perfect Easter period, picking up a maximum three wins from three against arch rivals St Helens, Wakefield and the Catalans Dragons. This feat becomes even more impressive after the Warriors came into Easter without a win in four games, showing a return to form in time for this key game.

Daryl Powell makes only one change to the squad that narrowly lost away to Hull FC, with Matt Cook replacing the veteran Andy Lynch. Luke Gale should be okay to play, but has to pass a fitness test after his head injury last weekend, with Rangi Chase waiting in the wings.

Wigan welcome back Joel Tomkins from injury and Anthony Gelling from suspension, with youngsters Joe Bretherton and Liam Forsyth making way in the squad. Sam Powell or Sean O’Loughlin could move into the halves to replace Thomas Leuluai, who broke his jaw in the home win against Catalans. This could mean a debut for young hooker Josh Ganson.

Ultimately, the wheels have wobbled slightly but not fell off for the Tigers, who still sit proudly at the summit of the table. They are still playing their trade mark exciting and expansive brand of rugby which will always see them put points on the board. A tightening up of defence is what is needed most to see them through this challenge.

For Wigan, this is a perfect opportunity to announce their return to form and to leapfrog their title rivals in the race for Old Trafford. An exhilarating game is in prospect, which any rugby league fan will be looking forward to.

Castleford Tigers Squad: Rangi Chase, Matt Cook, Greg Eden, Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker, Oliver Holmes Nathan Massey, Paul McShane, Mike McMeeken, Grant Millington, Greg Minikin, Adam Milner, Joel Monaghan, Junior Moors, Ben Roberts, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Gadwin Springer, Michael Shenton, Jake Webster.

Wigan Warriors Squad: Joe Burgess, Tom Davies, Morgan Escaré, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Josh Ganson, Anthony Gelling, Nick Gregson, Willie Isa, Liam Marshall, Michael Mcilorum, Romain Navarrete, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Joel Tomkins, George Williams.