CC Preview: Warrington v Wigan

Wigan Warriors’ hopes of reaching the Carnegie Challenge Cup final have been improved by he news that captain Sean O’Loughlin and Phil Bailey have returned from injury.

Semi-final opponents Warrington Wolves replace Brian Carney, who suffered a broken arm against Leeds Rhinos last week, with Chris Riley.

The game at Widnes Vikings’ Stobart Stadium is a sell out with 12,975 tickets sold.

Wigan coach Brian Noble has named O’Loughlin and Bailey in the squad for Saturday’s semi final against Warrington Wolves, although Noble says O’Loughlin will only play if fully fit.

“His chances are pretty good,” said the coach. “He’ll only play if he’s fully fit but he’s taking part in training and we’ll make a decision on Thursday or Friday.

“He did a bit of training last week and he’s progressing well. He’s a consummate professional and has due diligence in relation to his rehab.

“He’s important to us and so it’s important that we give him the best opportunity to play. He’s a world-class player.”

The Warriors will be without Darrell Goulding who is sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.

Warrington coach Tony Smith said that Riley would be an adequate replacement for Carney after he was restored to the Wolves starting line up.

“Chris was probably a bit unlucky to miss out last week,” said the England boss. “He handled it professionally. He’s ready to go and ready to do his best this week.”

Smith is also without Simon Grix but welcomes Matt King back into the team.

The Wolves are looking to reach their first Challenge Cup final since 1990, when they lost 36-14 to Wigan; they last won the trophy in 1974 when they beat Featherstone Rovers in the final.

Wigan last reached the final in 2002 when they lost to St Helens at Cardiff, while their last cup win was in 2002 when the beat the Saints 21-12 in Edinburgh.

Wigan and Warrington met at the semi-final stage in 2004; that game was also at Widnes, and the Warriors wn 30-18.

Warrington v Wigan (Stobart Stadium Halton)


Wigan: Roberts, Carmont, Richards, Leuluai, Fielden, Riddell, Paleaaesina, Bailey, O’Loughlin, J. Tomkins, Coley, Hansen, Prescott, Pryce, Phelps, Gleeson, Mossop, S. Tomkins, Flanagan

Warrington: L. Anderson, V. Anderson, Blythe, Bridge, Briers, Carvell, Clarke, Cooper, Harrison, Hicks, Johnson, King, Mathers, Mitchell, Monaghan, Morley, Rauhihi, Riley, Westwood 

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