DW record can unlock a Wembley slot

Picture by Vaughn Ridley/SWpix.com - 09/11/2013 - Rugby League - Rugby League World Cup - England v Fiji - KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England - England's Sean O'Loughlin.

Picture by Vaughn Ridley/SWpix.com - 09/11/2013 - Rugby League - Rugby League World Cup - England v Fiji - KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England - England's Sean O'Loughlin.

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SEAN O’Loughlin is aiming to maintain his unbeaten run of Test matches at the DW Stadium when England grace the Wigan venue on Saturday.

A 25,000 crowd is expected for the hugely-anticipated quarter-final showdown against the losers of 
tonight’s Group B clash between France and Samoa.

A place in the semi-finals at Wembley the following week is up for grabs - and a likely date against reigning champions New Zealand.

The DW (or JJB) has not been the happiest hunting ground for the national rugby league team. But O’Loughlin’s only two Tests there have also been both of their only victories in the last decade.

The loose forward made his debut there in 2004, helping Great Britain to a stunning Tri-Nations victory against Australia, and won man of the match against New Zealand three years later to clinch a series whitewash.

He missed Great Britain’s Tri-nations loss to the Kangaroos in 2005 and also sidelined for England’s 2009 Four Nations defeat by the same opposition.

O’Loughlin helped England secured their DW quarter-final spot with a 34-12 victory against Fiji at Hull. He said: “Hopefully I’ll be involved this weekend.

“It’d be nice to play at my own stadium, and I made my Test debut there so it would be special to play there again.

“I think there’s going to be a good crowd on so there should be a great atmosphere.”

Meanwhile, many of Wigan’s players were due to report back for training at Orrell this morning.

Shaun Wane will take charge of an “optional week” before the official start of pre-season next Monday, but expected most, if not all, of those not involved in internationals to show up.

They could include new signings Tony Clubb, Dan Sarginson, John Bateman and Sam Hopkins.

On the plan for the start of pre-season training, Wane said: “We’ll be doing a lot of work on skills.”