Betts rues Hock clause
Widnes Vikings coach Denis Betts has criticised Wigan Warriors for refusing to allow England forward Gareth Hock to play against them this weekend.
The powerful second rower is barred from turning out in Saturday’s game between the two clubs because of a clause inserted in the deal that took him on a season-long loan to the Halton Stadium.
“I’m more disappointed for Gaz,” Betts said. “I know he really wants to play. They must be afraid of him. Some clubs like to put (clauses) them in but, if I let a player go on loan, I wouldn’t hinder his development by saying he couldn’t play against us.
“If I didn’t want him, let someone else have him. It’s not my call, it was part of the deal. It might have been a bit of a deal-breaker so we let them keep it in.”
Hock, who missed Widnes’ defeat by Catalan Dragons last Saturday through suspension, is still under contract at Wigan but was allowed to go out on loan after a major fall-out in the close season.
Betts will have the services of Australian back-row forward Hep Cahill for Saturday’s game after he missed the trip to the south of France to be with his wife, who is expecting their second child.
“I made the decision that he shouldn’t go,” said Betts. “His wife is heavily pregant and he needs to be around his family at this stage. It was the right thing to do because we were away for four days and, if something had happened, he couldn’t have got back.
“She didn’t have the baby but he’ll play this week - it’s a bit easier to get back from Wigan to Widnes.”
Betts also expects former Wigan prop Ben Cross to face his old team-mates despite picking up a knee injury in his side’s 46-14 defeat by the Dragons.
“The fluid has come out of his knee,” said Betts. “He had a run today so hopefully he should be alright.”
Wigan will be without prop Gil Dudson, who could be missing for several weeks with a suspected broken hand.
Dudson sustained the injury during the Warriors’ 18-14 defeat at Leeds Rhinos last Friday and will go for scans to determine the extent of it.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane said: “I think he has broken a bone in his hand so it’s looking possibly four or six weeks. He will have a scan again tomorrow and he sees the specialist so we will have more idea then but the first signs are not good.
“It is a blow and I do feel sorry for him. He was in good form but I suppose the good thing is when he does return he will be nice and fresh.”
Wigan are still without front rowers Lee Mossop and Paul Prescott with shoulder and back injuries respectively but Epalahame Lauaki could make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a leg injury sustained in pre-season training.
Wane will also check on the fitness of second rower Chris Tuson and winger Pat Richards, whose hamstring injury prevented him from goalkicking against Leeds, while full-back Sam Tomkins is expected to return after missing the game at Headingley with a leg injury.