Wigan Warriors vs Catalans Dragons: Team news, match preview and score prediction

In what could be a dress rehearsal for an eventual semi-final, Wigan again conclude the season against Catalans as they did last year hoping for a similar result as they build momentum for the semi-finals.

Some of the gloss has been taken off the fixture by Catalans taking the same approach Wigan took against Hull KR and naming a rested and young team.

This won’t stop Wigan from looking to build nicely into knockout rugby.

Team News

Wigan have made 12 changes to the youthful squad named against Hull KR with the return of Thomas Leuluai to the side acting as the headline. The star duo of Bevan French and Jai Field are back whilst Sam Halsall and co drop out.

12 is the magic number with 12 potential debuts for the French side and only one player from the first 12 squad numbers available in Josh Drinkwater. Remarkably Catalans have named squad numbers 35-46. This comes after Catalans secured a place in the top four last week.

Match Preview – Key Battles:

Harry Smith vs Josh Drinkwater: As the only member of the first 13 squad numbers, there will be massive pressure on Josh Drinkwater to guide the young Dragons around the field. He’ll also have a tough job on his hands in stopping Harry Smith causing his sides problems.

John Bateman vs Benjamin Jullien: Now that Liam Farrell is injured, John Bateman is now the leader Wigan need in the backrow and a world class forward he could cause Catalans loads of problems. He’ll be up against another of Catalans’ rare first teamers in Benjamin Jullien who will also have to act as a forward leader.

Where the game will be won and lost:

With so many young players in the Catalans squad, it seems like there’s only one winner with the size of Wigan’s forwards and the speed of their outside backs. It could get a big ugly but will be vital experience for the young French players.

Score Prediction: Wigan Warriors 42-6 Catalans Dragons