Focus on defence for Catalans test

Ben Flower gets to grips with Pat Richards when Wigan met Catalans in February
Ben Flower gets to grips with Pat Richards when Wigan met Catalans in February

Shaun Wane says Wigan’s focus will be on defence when they take to the field against Catalans tonight.

Despite only only conceding 12 points in their last two games, the Warriors boss is still demanding improvement when his players don’t have the ball.

We got hammered there last year and the memories of that game will be hurting our players

Shaun Wane

But he is confident his side can avoid last season’s 58-16 hammering in Perpignan – so long as they maintain the attitude the coach has seen over the past fortnight.

“Our attitude defending has been fantastic,” he said.

“Our attitude to defence has been immense I’ve been very very proud of what we’ve done.”

Wane admits the nature of last season’s defeat in the south of France will be a motivating factor for his players tonight – as well as sanding down areas which took a bit of the gloss from last weekend’s win – when Castleford scored two second half tries.

“I thought even the couple of tries they scored we could’ve stopped,” he said.

“It was our defensive errors that gave them the chance.

“We just need to be a little bit harsher on ourselves and that’s been the main thing in the review after the game – on the points Castleford scored – so it’ll be very much on our D again going to Catalans.

“We got hammered there last year and the memories of that game will be hurting our players and we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Wigan are also aiming to join Hull FC at the top of the table after Huddersfield Giants did Wane’s men a favour on Thursday night by beating the Airlie Birds 22-12. If Wigan can pick up their seventh win in a row in all competitions tonight, they will also stretch the gap between themselves and Catalans to four points.

Last weekend’s Challenge Cup quarter-final success also brought a welcome improvement in attack, with Wigan leading 22-0 at the break.

Only bottom club Leeds have scored fewer points than Wigan’s 387 after the first 19 games of the Super League season – but given the disruption to Wane’s squad through injury, he still has high praise for his team which is second in the table and in the last four of the Challenge Cup.

“Our attack has improved in that first half of the Castleford game,” he said.

“First of all I’m very impressed with the players.There’s a real steel in the team when we’re having meetings.

“Whether we’re leading 22-0 or we’re winning 7-0 at Widnes, there’s just that desire to make sure we get over teams and win. It is a must win attitude andit comes from the players. I’m made up with their attitude.”