SL Preview: Wigan v Catalan

Laurent Frayssinous has given first call-ups of the season to two players ahead of his side’s clash with Wigan on Friday at the DW Stadium.

Wigan will be hoping for an improved performance after surviving a late comeback by Castleford to win 28-22 last weekend, while Catalan beat Wakefield 29-22 on Saturday.

Shaun Wane will give a late fitness test to captain Sean O’Loughlin who suffered a hamstring injury the previous game, but Chris Tuson and Dom Crosby should shake off their respective knocks to play in the game.

Catalan have included Jean-Philippe Baile and Frederic Vaccari in their 19-man squad at the expense of Antoni Maria and Brent Webb, who has a back injury. Playmaker Scott Dureau and Lopini Paea are both still recovering from surgery and Juilian Bousquet remains suspended.

Wigan 19-man squad: Burke, Charnley, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Green, Hughes, Mcllorum, O’Loughlin, Powell, Richards, Smith, Lloyd, Taylor, Thornley, L Tomkins, S Tomkins, Tuson

Catalan 19-man squad: Blanch, Pryce, Bosc, Elima, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Anderson, Mounis, Pelissier, Larroyer, Millard, Pala, Simon, Fakir, Baitieri, Duport, Vaccari, Philippe-Baile

Prediction: I expect a close encounter between two powerful sets of forwards but I’m backing Wigan for the win.

Stats:

Wigan have won their last four meetings with Catalan Dragons – with the French outfit’s last victory against the Warriors coming 20-12 at Montpellier on 4 June, 2011.

The Warriors have also won their last three home fixtures (including play-off successes in 2011 and 2012) against the Dragons – last tasting defeat on 8 April, 2011 (47-28).

Wigan’s Josh Charnley has scored tries in the Warriors’ last four games against Catalan Dragons (1-2-1-1).

Super League summary:

Wigan won 12 (includes wins in 2008, 2011 and 2012 play-offs)
Catalan Dragons won 6
1 draw
Wigan highest score: 58-0 (H, 2010) (also widest margin)
Catalan Dragons highest score: 47-28 (A, 2011) (also widest margin)

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