An incredible combined XIII of Wigan Warriors & Hull KR stars

Ben Olawumi
Jake Wardle, Elliot Minchella, Bevan French

Jake Wardle (left), Elliot Minchella (middle) & Bevan French (right) all feature in our combined XIII of Hull KR & Wigan Warriors stars

Ahead of this weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-final between the pair, we pick out a combined XIII made up of Hull KR and Wigan Warriors stars.

Only players currently available for selection have been considered and chosen, meaning that the likes of Wigan‘s Liam Byrne (suspended) and KR‘s Oliver Gildart (injured) were never in contention.

So, without further ado, our combined XIII of Robins & Warriors…

1. Jai Field (Wigan Warriors)

Jai Field Wigan Warriors Alamy
Wigan Warriors’ Jai Field in action in 2024

There are a few absolute certainties in this 13, and kicking things off at full-back, Field is one of them. The Australian ace is lightning quick and has a rugby league IQ higher than most of us could ever wish for. He’s only got one try to his own name so far this season, but he’ll have had a hand in a ridiculously high percentage of Wigan’s tries overall.

2. Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors)

Liam Marshall
Wigan Warriors’ Liam Marshall crosses for a try in 2024

163 Wigan games, 137 tries for Marshall and ridiculous 18 tries in 12 appearances so far this season. If you need someone to get over the try-line, it’ll be him. It feels like he’s been around forever having made his senior debut for the Warriors in 2017, but the winger is still only 27! Like a fine wine.

3. Jake Wardle (Wigan Warriors)

Jake Wardle Wigan Warriors Alamy
Jake Wardle applauds the Wigan Warriors supporters following a game in 2024

Three from three for Wigan, and another absolute must have for us. Wardle has been described as the best centre in Super League by plenty of people in the game, and we can’t disagree. He enjoyed a tremendous first year with Wigan, winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy in their Grand Final triumph last October, and hasn’t been any less impressive so far in 2024.

4. Peta Hiku (Hull KR)

Peta Hiku
Hull KR’s Peta Hiku

Off-season recruit Hiku is our first KR pick, in alongside Wardle in the centres. Having enjoyed a short stint in Super League with Warrington Wolves in 2017, seven years on he’s back tearing it up in East Hull. After moving back into the centres from full-back by boss Willie Peters, the Kiwi international has found a new lease of life and has nine tries in 13 appearances to date this season.

5. Ryan Hall (Hull KR)

Ryan Hall Hull KR Alamy
Ryan Hall in action for Hull KR in 2024

Hall won the battle for this spot, pipping Abbas Miski & team-mate Joe Burgess. Both of those have impressed this year, but Hall remains very capable of grounding a ball and offers so much to the Robins in terms of his ability to tactically read a game. It might have a bit of sentimentality attached, but with eight tries in 13 appearances this year, the veteran makes the cut for us.

6. Bevan French (Wigan Warriors)

Bevan French
Wigan Warriors star Bevan French

Here he is, the star man. French oozes quality and can single-handedly win you game with moments of brilliance. When you’re putting him and Field together in a line-up, that is a truly electric attack. On top of the role he’s played in teeing up others for tries, the playmaker has 12 tries in 12 appearances of his own to date this year. Another player with a superb rugby league IQ, too.

7. Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors)

Harry Smith Wigan Warriors Alamy
Harry Smith in action for Wigan Warriors in 2024

We have a feeling that this is the choice that’s going to upset a lot of people, it did in our own discussions! Hull KR fans, we duly apologise. Mikey Lewis is phenomenal, but it’s Smith we’re sticking with. Shaun Wane makes that same call for England, and we just think all-round, the Warriors academy product just about edges it. Flip of a coin though, incredibly slender margins.

8. Luke Thompson (Wigan Warriors)

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Luke Thompson gives a thumbs up to the camera following a Wigan Warriors win in 2024

Not many doubted Thompson‘s ability to return from the NRL and have an impact, but he’s been even more impressive than anticipated in a Wigan shirt so far, just an absolute monster both in defence and attack. Consistently playing big minutes, the prop has left his mark on pretty much every game, using every bit of his experience to his advantage.

9. Brad O’Neill (Wigan Warriors)

Brad O'Neill Wigan Warriors Alamy
Brad O’Neill in action for Wigan Warriors in 2024

Leaving Jez Litten out is another big call, but we just think O’Neill – at 21 – is remarkable for his age. Kruise Leeming has been left behind the youngster in the pecking order despite putting in impressive performances himself, and that’s testament to just how good O’Neill has been – even being tried out at loose by Matt Peet against Huddersfield last weekend showing his versatility.

10. Sauaso “Jesse” Sue (Hull KR)

Sauaso Sue
Sauaso Sue scores and celebrates a try for Hull KR in 2024

Sue‘s inclusion is thoroughly deserved, really stepping up his game this season and nailing down a starting spot in the Robins’ 13, with all 12 of his appearances to date in 2024 seeing him in the starting line-up having made over half of his 31 appearances last term off the bench. An absolute unit in defence, and tough to stop going forward, too.

11. Kelepi Tanginoa (Hull KR)

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Hull KR forward Kelepi Tanginoa applauds their supporters after a game in 2024

Our first second-rower is team-mate Tanginoa, who seems to have excelled since joining KR after Wakefield Trinity’s relegation last term. Playing in a frankly better team, you’re always going to have to step up to match the quality of those around you, and the versatile forward has done exactly that seamlessly. Some forward pack, this!

12. Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)

Liam Farrell
Wigan Warriors captain Liam Farrell

We sometimes feel Wigan skipper Farrell‘s actual talent gets overlooked for people, rightly, wanting to praise his leadership skills. You don’t stay in a Warriors side for as many years as he has under numerous coaches just by being a good leader. Someone who will always put his body on the line to stop opponents, but also a player more than capable of having an influence in attack.

13. Elliot Minchella (Hull KR)

Elliot Minchella Hull KR Alamy
Hull KR captain Elliot Minchella

Rounding things off and taking the final scores on the doors to 8-5 in Wigan’s favour is KR captain Minchella, who the Robins will be desperate to see return from injury in this weekend’s semi-final. Another leader among men and another absolute gem of a forward. Rovers badly miss him when he’s not playing in every single aspect of the game, and so would this team.