Wigan to mark Richards milestone
Wigan Warriors will celebrate “Paddy’s Day” a week early to mark the 200th appearance of Ireland international winger Pat Richards.
The Warriors have asked fans to wear green in celebration of the goalkicking winger’s landmark appearance against Catalan Dragons at the DW Stadium tonight.
Richards, who is set to represent Ireland in the World Cup later this year, will go into the match needing one more try to reach 150 for the club and to climb into the top 10 of Super League’s all-time tryscorers.
The popular Richards, who turned 31 last month, is in his eighth season in Super League, having made his debut against the Catalans in a 38-30 defeat in Perpignan in the French side’s inaugural match in February 2006.
“Pat has been here that long I see him as a Wiganer,” said Warriors coach Shaun Wane.
“He is a great player and he loves playing for the club.
“Pat has been real quality and I think on Sunday at Castleford it was his best game of the season for us.”
Richards, who has scored tries in six of the last seven home league games against the Dragons, said: “That is good to hear coming from Mr Wigan himself.
“I have been here a long time. It just goes to prove how much I love the place, I just keep extending my contract every time.”
The winners of tonight’s game will go top of the table if Huddersfield Giants lose at Leeds Rhinos.
That match will mark the return to Headingley of hooker Shaun Lunt, who was a member of the Rhinos’ 2012 Grand Final-winning team while on loan from the Giants.
“He did a fantastic job for us last season and he is showing that form again with the Giants,” said Leeds coach Brian McDermott.
Both Warrington Wolves and St Helens go into tonight’s derby at the Halliwell Jones Stadium looking to bounce back from defeat.
Saints’ loss to Leeds a week ago leaves them still looking for a first home win while the Wolves’ relinquished their unbeaten record at Hull KR.
“We were really disappointed with last week’s performance,” said Warrington stand-off Stefan Ratchford.
“There’s probably no better game than Saints at home to get back on track.
“Saints’ away form hasn’t been too bad and they had two wins here last year which will give them even more confidence.”
In tonight’s other matches, Widnes Vikings and Bradford Bulls will be looking to post back-to-back wins when they meet at the Halton Stadium, while Hull FC and Castleford Tigers will be looking to get back to winning ways at the KC Stadium.
The Bulls, who are undefeated in their last four games against the Vikings, will be on a high after their emphatic win over table-topping Huddersfield.
“They are a confident side at the moment,” said Widnes coach Denis Betts.
“When things have been going their way, they look well structured.
“They’re coming off the back of a good win, in the same way that we are, so it’s two of the form teams playing against each other.”
Castleford have won just once so far but coach Ian Millward is delighted with their form and believes, with luck, they could be challenging near the top.
He said: “We’ve had 400 minutes this season and, out of that, I can only take 30 minutes out when we got exposed - the first 20 against Warrington in the first game and 10 minutes against Bradford when we were down to 11 men.
“So you’re looking at 370 minutes when we’ve been very competitive and played very well against some very good teams. We’re a bit unlucky that we don’t have two or three wins.”