It’s all about being physical for Wane and Wigan

Wigan coach Shaun Wane is focusing on the physicality of his team, ahead of Good Friday’s eagerly anticipated Super League clash with St Helens.

Wane is keen for his players to remember what they are good at, and to make sure that they defend well and aggressively.

“We played them in a friendly this year and we got outmuscled,” he said.

“They talked after the game about how aggressive they were, and they ‘out-Wiganed’ Wigan, was the comment from Jon Wilkin last year.

“So it’s about us being really physical and getting back to what we do best.

“If we defend as best as we can, really physical and put them under pressure, then we give ourselves a chance with the ball.

“I felt that in the Wakefield game we were very committed on our plays – I thought that was the difference.

“We have to do that again.

“But I’m under no illusions, St Helens are a much-improved team. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way.

“They’re a very talented team and really well-coached, and it’s going to be a totally different challange for us this week.”

Saints go into the game on the back of a narrow defeat at Hull KR last week. Wane watched that game, and felt that St Helens still played well, despite the loss.

“I watched the game a few times, they were still good St Helens, very good,” he said.

Hull KR got in their faces, their line speed was good, and that was a challenge Saints had.

“It’s up to us to make St Helens uncomfortable, and hopefully we can do that with a good week at training.”

With so many locally born players and staff at both clubs, Wane is in doubt that plenty of passion and local pide will be on display again on Friday.

“It means a lot to us,” he said.

“I have a lot of respect for the St Helens coaches  – Keiron Cunningham and Jamahl Lolesi are doing a fantastic job.

“Keiron’s a local lad, so it means a lot to him.

“A lot in the St Helens team are local, so it does have the makings of an absolutely fantastic game.

“When both teams are on they can play some fantastic rugby league.”

Wigan have a short turnaround after the derby, and play Salford on Easter Monday. Wane insists that he enoys the challenge of playing two games in such a short space of time.

“I love this period, it’s a great period,” he said.

“It’s a challenge for us as staff. We need to work hard and long hours.

“It’s a challenge for all the medical staff and the conditioning staff regarding all the recovery protocols.

“I enjoy it. I’m sure St Helens do, and we’ll find out on Friday who’s got their team best prepared.”

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