‘Harsh’ lessons for Wane’s young guns

Romain Navarrete takes the ball in during his first Wigan Warriors appearance
Romain Navarrete takes the ball in during his first Wigan Warriors appearance

Shaun Wane admits his young players were taught a “harsh” lesson after Wigan fell to a 50-10 defeat at Leigh in their first friendly of the year.

The Warriors trailed only 12-10 at half-time before Wane rested many of his big-guns and brought on several of his fringe players.

The French boys did some good things, and some things we need to correct

Shaun Wane

And from that point they had no match to the Super League newcomers, who scored seven unanswered tries.

Wane said: “I’m happy. I liked how we started, we did what we’ve been working on, and then it was a harsh lesson for our young kids to play against men.

“It was a big step-up for our young players and I was keen to watch them - it was a good lesson for them.”

Thomas Leuluai marked his Wigan return with his side’s first try in a match which served as Micky McIlorum’s testimonial. The game also saw Morgan Escare and Romain Navarrete make their first appearances for their new club.

“The French boys did some good things, and some things we need to correct,” said Wane, who expects Leigh to make a mark in Super League.

“I know 90 per cent of their players, they took this very seriously and they’re a smart team - they’ll trouble a few teams. They will do well.”

Forward Connor Farrell will need a leg injury scanned this week, which Wane hopes is not serious. Oliver Gildart was also forced to leave the match with a dead-leg.

Wigan now head to France for a training camp which concludes with a friendly at Catalans next Saturday - their last senior pre-season game before the new campaign starts at Salford on February 11.

Wane expects Joel Tomkins, Ben Flower, Liam Farrell and John Bateman to take part, having sat out the match at the Sports Village.

Leigh coach Neil Jukes said: “I’d have taken that scoreline.

“We posted a lot of points when Wigan made some changes, they have some good young players, but we were really aggressive with our sets.

“We’re not going to get carried away because Wigan had players missing. But similar we were very good. We were ruthless.”

Meanwhile, St Helens lifted the Karalius Cup with a 16-0 victory over Widnes yesterday but have an injury worry over new signing Matty Smith, who limped off before half-time.

It is feared ex-Warrior Smith, in his first game back for St Helens since returning to the club,has broken his leg.