DEFEAT is not an option for Shaun Wane’s Wigan Warriors tomorrow.
The equation is simple: beat London Broncos and earn the right to compete for rugby league’s oldest prize at Wembley – lose and get nothing.
The Warriors will embark on a record-extending 45th Challenge Cup semi-final and Wane is refusing to let London’s lowly Super League position enter anyone’s mind.
“It’s a semi-final. It doesn’t matter where you are in the league as we found out against St Helens this week, said Wane.
“We will give London every respect. They have a lot of good players and a lot of their players have played in the NRL at the highest level.
“We will be going there with our best game plan and our total concentration.”
The Wigan boss has also earmarked Broncos NRL recruit Jamie Soward as a marked man and is expecting him to perform.
“Soward has given them some more attacking quality and they will want to turn up and do a job on us,” Wane said.
“I’m expecting the game to still be tight at half-time and it is the team that can stay in their systems the longest that will probably win.
“They are a Super League team who do the same weights, same skills as us so they have some quality.”
As well as lessons learned in previous semi-finals, Wane believes the Warriors also got a sharp reminder of how little form counts for in the 18-4 Super League defeat to Castelford just a few weeks ago.
“Their form has not been great but it’s 80 minutes. Castleford did it to us where they turned up on the day and beat us so we have some lessons to make sure we don’t get caught with that.”
Despite being wary of London’s potential, Wane is confident they will be able to complete the job and go one better in the competition than last year’s fall at this hurdle.
“If we can play like anything we can play, we can attack and score tries from anywhere so if we do that we will give ourselves a good chance,” he added.
Wane also reciprocated the support from Warrington Wolves boss Tony Smith when both coaches decided against risking players not 100 per cent fit in their games ahead of the semi-finals.
Smith rested five men in their win over Hull KR and backed Wane for deciding against risking Sean O’Loughlin and Sam Tomkins as they recovered from knee injuries, as well as bringing off Michael McIlorum after 26 minutes.
“I understand what Tony has done and I support him,” said Wane who is expecting to have a full compliment of players to choose from tomorrow.
Hopefully if things go right this weekend we will have competition for places for the next few weeks,” Wane added.
“The medical department here has done an outstanding job in the last few weeks.
“I’ve got a healthy squad - everyone is good to go. “