Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet provides injury update on forward duo

Drew Darbyshire
Ethan Havard Mike Cooper Wigan Warriors Alamy

Ethan Havard (left) and Mike Cooper (right) in action for Wigan Warriors

Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet has provided an injury update on front-row duo Ethan Havard and Mike Cooper, with the pair nearing a return to the field.

Academy product Havard has not played since suffering a recurring hamstring injury in their Super League Grand Final win over Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford last October.

And experienced prop Cooper hasn’t featured since sustaining a knee injury in their World Club Challenge triumph against Penrith Panthers in February.

Speaking in his weekly press conference prior to Thursday’s trip across the borough to Leigh, Peet revealed Havard and Cooper are both likely to return in their Round 8 fixture against Castleford Tigers on April 19.

“He’s obviously not named in the squad this week but we’re expecting Ethan (to play) in the second Castleford game,” Peet said.

“We play Castleford (in the Challenge Cup) and then Castleford again (in Super League), so Ethan will play in the home one.”

When asked about Cooper, Peet replied: “Probably the same game (as Ethan).”

The only other two players currently sidelined for the Warriors are off-season recruits Sam Walters (collarbone) and Sam Eseh (hamstring), who are due to return some time in May.

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Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet reflects on St Helens defeat and previews Leigh Leopards clash

The Warriors suffered their first loss since last July on Good Friday, with their rivals St Helens scoring two tries in the last five minutes through Tommy Makinson and Konrad Hurrell to seal a 12-4 win in front of a sold-out Totally Wicked Stadium.

“I suppose in some ways it is never completely out of your mind but you move on quickly, you take the lessons from it and it was a big disappointment in that one,” Peet said in his press conference.

“You don’t forget about any game really, particularly the losses, you just try to concentrate on what you can learn from it and some motivation I guess.”

Peet says he is looking forward to Thursday night’s Battle of the Borough over at the Leigh Sports Village, with his side hoping to return to winning ways against the Challenge Cup holders.

“I think it is an exciting game in it’s own right the Leigh fixture,” Peet added. “It has been for a few years now – not just because of the local rivalry – but because Leigh have performed so well since their promotion and they play such good rugby so I think it has become a real standout fixture for both clubs.”

The Leopards have won just one game from their opening five in Super League, having to deal with injuries to key players such as Edwin Ipape, John Asiata, Tom Briscoe, Tom Amone and Lachlan Lam – but Peet believes they will pick up wins sooner rather than later.

“I think people can see why (they have had a difficult start),” Peet said. “They’ve had a bit of difficulty with injuries but they’ve still performed well in a lot of those games and I think everyone is expecting it to turn quickly for Leigh.

“I think where they have been smart this year in their recruitment. They’ve identified a lot of young, hungry British players from other clubs, the likes of Lewis Baxter, Jack Derbyshire, Kavan Rothwell.. They’ve probably got a squad now that can stand up to these (tough injury) periods a bit better so I think it’s all part of Leigh’s development as a Super League club and I think they’ve recruited well for it, they won’t be losing for long I don’t think.”

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