This is Wigan’s biggest test of the season. After a shock defeat to Leeds in which they were not only beaten but dominated by an injury hit Leeds side, can they bounce back?
They’ll be up against a resurgent Hull KR side who have turned a corner recently with a pair of good wins which truly has them in the play-off mix.
A win here against the Warriors would give their hopes of finals rugby a massive boost.
Despite the thumping defeat to Leeds last week, Matt Peet can’t recall any of his big hitters with Thomas Leuluai, John Bateman and others still sidelined for the time being. So, it’s the same 21-man squad as last week but Patrick Mago should be back after illness last week.
Hull KR have seven players more accustomed to playing academy rugby or reserves in their squad as their injury crisis reaches a tipping point. Shaun Kenny-Dowall is still out and is joined by Ryan Hall as well as the electric Mikey Lewis.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Jai Field vs Lachlan Coote: Leeds provided the blueprint of how to defend against Jai Field and his partner in crime. The Rhinos were excellent at shutting them down but even so the two still caused them problems at times. So, Hull KR will have to be exceptional to shut him down but have perhaps the savviest fullback around to try and foil him in the brilliant Lachlan Coote.
Bevan French vs Ryan Hall: These two wingers are almost polar opposites. French is all about pace and evasion whilst Hall is likely to try and run through a brick wall if it means scoring a try. It should be a brilliant clash of styles as two of the best attackers in the league do battle.
Harry Smith vs Will Dagger: Will Dagger has done a brilliant job since taking over in the halves. There’ll be extra pressure on him this week with no Mikey Lewis available but he will look to outfox the young Harry Smith this week. Like Dagger who is normally a fullback, Smith wasn’t expected to be his side’s halfback at this stage in the season with Thomas Leuluai carrying the seven shirt but Smith has been exceptional all season and is the ideal replacement for Leuluai in the coming years.
Where the game will be won and lost:
If Wigan can get back to what they do best especially in attack, then Hull KR may have a rough night. However, should the Robins disrupt the Wigan attack than they’ll give themselves a chance at victory. But, with so many players out injured, it’ll be a tough game for the Robins on Thursday night.
Score Prediction: Wigan Warriors 36-12 Hull KR