Steve Price won’t be using the iPitch as an excuse

Warrington coach Steve Price says Widnes’ iPitch will be no excuse for a defeat when the two sides meet on Friday.

The Vikings have the only artificial pitch in Super League and have played on it since their return to the top flight in 2012.

Last week, Catalans boss Steve McNamara alleged the pitch caused half-backs Luke Walsh and Samisoni Langi to be sidelined with knocks for their second round game against St Helens.

Warrington have won on their last three visits to Widnes in competitive matches, including twice last season, and have won four of the seven meetings between the two teams on the iPitch.

Price said: “We had the opportunity to play on it in a friendly just after Christmas, it’s a different experience, a different bounce of the ball but we’ve just got to manage that.

“We’ve trained on a number of 3G and 4G pitches throughout pre-season and that was part of our plan with a lot of sessions against Leigh.

“So the pitch is no excuse come Friday night.

“It’s a local derby, they’re always brutal matches, so we’re going to have to be on our game to get the result.

“That’s been our main focus this week, it’s been about doing the things that we can control and that’s our game plan and if we do that, then we give ourselves every chance.”

The iPitch has received sporadic criticism throughout its tenure – teams outside the top flight including Toronto Wolfpack and Newcastle Thunder now play on artificial surfaces.

Wolves prop Mike Cooper said: “I quite like playing on the iPitch. It doesn’t really bother me too much. It’s consistent. You’re not getting mud on the ball, it’ll still be slippy especially the balls we are playing with.

“But everyone’s got to play under the same rules and the same conditions so it should make for a fast entertaining game and that’s what we want.”

Warrington travel to Widnes on Friday night in one of only two Super League games this weekend.

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