French recruits already impressing at Warriors

Morgan Escare

Morgan Escare

French recruits Romain Navarrete and Morgan Escare have already impressed Wigan’s coaching staff – days before the start of pre-season.

The first-team players were invited to take part in optional sessions this week ahead of the official return to duties next Monday.

Romain Navarrete

Romain Navarrete

And not only did the duo report for training, but they also checked in last week to make sure they were settled in before meeting their new team-mates.

Head of performance Mark Bitcon said: “Romain and Morgan didn’t need to be in last week, but they trained three times with me and come in for optional week, and I’m really impressed with both of those guys.

“We’ll see where they’re at next week, but so far so good, they’ve got good attitudes and I think they’ll do really well here.”

Prop Navarrete, 22, played for France against England a week before the Four Nations began but turned down the chance to report to training late.

We’ll see where they’re at next week, but so far so good, they’ve got good attitudes and I think they’ll do really well here

Mark Bitcon

The optional week was intended for the younger players to help prepare them for the gruelling pre-season schedule.

But senior players recovering from injuries - Tony Clubb, Joe Burgess, Joel and Sam Tomkins - were also at their Orrell base yesterday.

“It’s an optional week but we’ve got half the squad in - the injured players and the French recruits, too,” said Bitcon.

“We’re giving them a bit of a taste of what to expect.

“Some players have been given extended time, Shaun Wane has already said that, but Ben Flower, Micky McIlorum, Sam Powell and Willie Isa have all been in off their own back.

“It’s good to see, it tells me they’ve had a good break and they’re hungry to go.

“Everyone is thinking about the World Club Challenge against Cronulla, it’s a great motivational factor.”

Pre-season will start with Vo2 Max testing to check the players’ fitness levels, and compare them to previous off-seasons.

“We recommend the players take two weeks off at the end of the season - three weeks for the older players – and then they start an individual programme to make sure they’re good to go,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kiwi prop Adam Blair last night denied internet rumours he was leaving Brisbane Broncos to join Wigan while speaking at the Four Nations final press conference at Anfield.