Wane has revenge in mind
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane says his team will be out to avenge their Carnegie Challenge Cup defeat after choosing to play reigning Stobart Super League champions Leeds Rhinos in Friday’s semi-final at the DW Stadium.
The Warriors had the right to pick their opponents under the Clubcall rule and opted to avoid Challenge Cup winners Warrington Wolves, the other choice open to them, when they announced their decision today.
The double-chasing Wolves, therefore, will play St Helens in the second semi-final at Langtree Park on Saturday.
Table-toppers Wigan have done the league double over the Rhinos this year but suffered a surprise 39-28 cup semi-final defeat by Brian McDermott’s men.
“We decided a few weeks ago that, if we were in a position to make the call, we’d go with the lowest-rank team,” said Wane, who made the decision in consultation with chairman Ian Lenagan and rugby manager Kris Radlinski.
“We did have discussions about going elsewhere but we decided to stick to our guns.
“But, make no mistake, we know it’s going to be a tough game. At this stage, it would be tough whoever you pick.
“We’re still hurting from that performance in the cup. It was not so much the loss but we under-performed that day.
“It wasn’t us. Sam (Tomkins) has not done things that he did that day, we’ve not played as poorly since then.
“I’ve been upset ever since. It is a game I’m desperate to put right.”
Leeds coach McDermott believes his side’s impressive 27-20 win over Catalan Dragons in Perpignan last Friday will have given Wigan something to consider before making their decision.
“It was no surprise but I don’t think it was as straightforward as everybody is trying to make out,” he said.
“I think they would have had to carefully consider the strengths and weaknesses of Warrington and Leeds.”
McDermott is sweating over the availability of half-back Danny McGuire, who was put on report for a high tackle on Louis Anderson during the Rhinos’ win over Catalan.
The incident will be considered by the RFL’s match-review panel tomorrow and McDermott is adamant that McGuire should face no action, arguing that he made accidental contact with Anderson.
“I don’t think I’m being biased but that’s not a bannable offence,” he said. “You can’t ban people for unfortunately finding themselves making contact with somebody’s head.
“If someone goes out to make contact with somebody’s head intentionally, ban them. To keep making that ’mistake’, ban them.
“That’s what I thought the review panel was for, to try to eradicate repeat offenders, either cynical contact where people are twisting elbow and shoulder sockets or people who just can’t get their tackle technique right.
“At the moment with the panel it seems to be a ’one-strike and you’re out’. There are very few successes this year. I don’t think there has been any not-guilties this year.”
Warrington, who beat Hull FC 24-12 in yesterday’s preliminary semi-final, suffered a 28-6 home defeat by Saints in the opening round of the play-offs and as a consequence lost home advantage at the last-four stage.
St Helens acting head coach Mike Rush, who is aiming to guide his side to a seventh consecutive appearance at Old Trafford, got the tie he anticipated.
“It’s probably what we expected,” he said. “It will be a real tough test because they will be hurting from the loss last week.
“It’s 2-1 in games so far this year and they’ll be desperate to level it up.”