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Wane wary of picking Powell

2nd of July 2013
Wane wary of picking Powell

Rugby union convert Andy Powell will continue his league apprenticeship this weekend but Shaun Wane is hoping it is not in Super League.

Rugby union convert Andy Powell will continue his league apprenticeship this weekend but Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane is hoping it will not be in Super League.

The former Wales and British and Irish Lions forward was rushed into the Wigan side for last Friday's match against Castleford Tigers because of a front-row injury crisis that left Wane without five senior props.

And, although the coach was pleased with Powell's debut in an 18-4 defeat, he is hoping to have at least one of his injured players back for Friday's home game against Bradford Bulls so that the former Cardiff, Wasps and Sale forward can learn his trade with one of the club's partners.

"I really didn't want to play him in that game because he's still learning a lot about us as a club and the technical side of it but I had no choice," Wane said.

"We had no front rowers left and we're struggling again. I really don't want to but, if I need to call on him, he's really confident and he's pushing me to play him.

"We've a chance of getting Ben Flower back, which will be a relief, and Lee Mossop has a remote chance of playing.

"I'd like Andy to go to Leigh or South Wales Scorpions so he can have a good blow-out and get some game time under his belt. At our level, you can't leave him on for that long."

Leigh are away to Doncaster in the Championship on Sunday while the Scorpions host Gloucestershire All Golds in a Championship One game in Neath, where Powell's new team-mate Iain Thornley played on a dual registration last Sunday.

Powell, whose signing was announced in April, had been training with the Warriors for just a fortnight after returning from honeymoon and, although Wane was encouraged by his first impression, he admits it took its toll on the Welshman.

"I thought he did really well, when you consider it was six or seven weeks earlier than we expected," Wane said. "I thought he ran the ball well and defensively he was okay.

"I saw him the day after and he couldn't move, he was very sore. He was using muscles that he doesn't normally use.

"In union you get quite a lot of breaks whereas in our game it's quite intense and he struggled with that.

"But I was really pleased with his debut and he will get better and better the more game time he gets. He's a very athletic man and he's going to be a very good asset to us."

Wane is resigned to still being without skipper Sean O'Loughlin, Man of Steel Sam Tomkins and prop Epalahame Lauaki for the visit of the Bulls as Wigan look to avoid a third consecutive defeat for the first time since the start of the 2009 season.

Although the Warriors are now only a point in front of Huddersfield Giants and two ahead of Warrington Wolves, Wane is determined not to bring players back unless they are fully fit.

"Lockers and Lauaki are still a few weeks off and Sam is still struggling with a knock on his knee," he said. "I'm speaking more to the physio now than I do to my wife.

"Players play with jabs - that's part and parcel of rugby league - but I need them to be 99 per cent fit to play and I won't play people injured. I've been caught out by that before and it won't happen again."

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