Jai Field, Brad O’Neill absence explained as Wigan Warriors coach provides latest after Castleford Tigers win

Drew Darbyshire
Matt Peet Wigan Warriors Alamy

Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet (right) with Jai Field and Brad O'Neill (both left)

Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet explained why key duo Jai Field and Brad O’Neill didn’t feature in their win over Castleford Tigers.

Livewire fullback Field and starting hooker O’Neill were notable absentees from Peet’s line-up that ran-out 36-14 winners against Castleford at the DW Stadium.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Peet confirmed that the duo were rested, with the newly-introduced match limits in mind for O’Neill and Field nursing a minor niggle, which he has been doing over the last couple of weeks.

“Brad O’Neill, he’s been playing outstandingly well for us,” Peet said.

“But we do have another very good hooker and we wanted to give Kruise (Leeming) more game time now he’s fully recovered from injury, and to somewhat protect Brad and keep him fresh with a long season ahead.

“There is a limit on minutes with his age, he’s lower than others. So it’s a way to keep him safe, fresh and look after him because we’re going to need him.”

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Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet provides update on Jai Field

Peet says Field’s niggle isn’t serious and could have played against Castleford, but they chose to give his body a rest so it can fully heal.

Peet added: “Jai has been sort of nursing a bit of muscle tightness, he could play. But so far we’ve taken a couple of opportunities to just let him rest a little bit, and he’s coming towards the back of that now. He’ll put it to bed in this little rest that he gets.

“We thought it was the right thing to do, take this opportunity to give people games who deserve them as well. More for Kruise (Leeming), game time for Ryan (Hampshire) because we’re going to need him, and then a chance to look at Zach (Eckersley) as well.

“The fact we were made to work harder and still got the job done, I thought Castleford right from the off brought a level of intent and effort and energy. We had to overcome that.

“They scored a try there, against the run of play, but it makes it more of a challenge and I thought we stuck to building the game and we got the job done.”

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