Captain Thomas Leuluai to return for Wigan against Catalans

Steven Brady
Thomas Leuluai

Photo: Craig Thomas/News Images

Wigan captain Thomas Leuluai will return to the team for this weekend’s Super League clash against Catalans Dragons.

Leuluai, 36, was rested for Saturday’s last-gasp 29-28 victory over Toulouse Olympique but coach Matt Peet said he will be back for the match in Perpignan.

Peet picked Harry Smith to partner Cade Cust in the halves at Stade Ernest Wallon and it was a winning combination as Smith landed a 79th-minute drop goal to win the game.

The Wigan coach said: “We wanted to give Harry a crack tonight and use the opportunity to freshen Tommy up. Harry’s been training really well and he was consistently in the team last year.

“He stepped in for us and scored the winning point but Tommy will come back next week against Catalans. He’s raring to go and it’s clear from sitting close to him in the stadium that he prefers to play rather than watch a game.”

REPORT: Toulouse 28-29 Wigan: Heartbreak for French side as Harry Smith kicks late drop-goal

Underdogs in Perpignan

Peet wants an improved performance from his players in Perpignan this week after Toulouse looked likely to win on Saturday before Smith’s late winner.

He added: “We are well aware that Catalans have lots more experience than Toulouse and we will go into next week’s game as the underdogs.

“It’s a totally different challenge. At the moment Catalans and St Helens are the two outstanding teams in the competition. We know that it’s a big test for us in Perpignan and one we’re looking forward to.

“I wasn’t surprised by Toulouse. I knew that they are getting better week on week. It is clear that the win is getting closer for them.

“I thought we started excellently, our attitude was in the right place. It wasn’t a situation where we didn’t turn up. It’s simply that Toulouse played themselves back into the game and credit to them for that.

“In the end we played ourselves back into the game with some good attack and some really gutsy defence, charging down those kicks and pressuring drop-goal attempts. Those two points were well-earned.”

French double

The Warriors have set up camp in the south of France for the Toulouse and Catalans games. Peet is hoping the trip will be a useful bonding exercise between the players and also supporters.

“We wanted to use this trip to France as a good training base and rather than travel in and out twice with consecutive fixtures. We thought it would be good to give the lads an opportunity to share experiences together.

“We’re going to get amongst France and experience things here, spend some time with our supporters and that’s really important.

“The Wigan fans’ support has been unbelievable and tonight’s win was probably down to them.

“If they hadn’t travelled over I’m not sure we would have been able to dig so deep.

“The lads love to see that cherry and white in the stands and the players went over to thank them at the end of the game.

“I can’t thank them enough for the finance and time they have dedicated to this trip.”

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