SHAUN Wane has ordered his front-row to “aim up” in France – even though it has been depleted by injuries and suspension.
Gil Dudson was last night banned for three matches for shoulder-charging Broncos’ Josh Drinkwater in the 58-6 victory at London.
To narrow Wane’s options further, his hopes of welcoming Ben Flower and Sean O’Loughlin back from niggling injuries was put into doubt after they failed to finish training yesterday.
No.9 Mike McIlorum – arguably Wigan’s most combative forward – is still sidelined with a broken arm.
He plans to draft Jordan James and 18-year-old Ryan Sutton into the squad which flies out to Barcelona tomorrow. And he has challenged them to ensure they aren’t bullied into submission on the sun-kissed Mediterranean this Saturday night.
Wane said: “Our forward will have to front up physically.
“If our attack is better than London we’ll challenge them, we can score points – but we need to defend tough. We need to make sure we aim up.
“They have a big, aggressive pack and if you let them get a roll on, it’s a tough day at the office if they start playing ‘basketball’ rugby league.
“That starts with the front-rowers, how we defend, where they kick from.
Flower (ankle) and O’Loughlin (knee) missed the win at London with training ground injuries. But on a positive note, both Tony Clubb and Eddy Pettybourne reported no setbacks after returning to action.
Clubb is expected to continue at loose-forward if captain O’Loughlin is absent.
Wane put the players through the paces yesterday and revealed how sports science has shaped training.
“The players wear GPS devices and the scores from the London game were quite low, so we could train hard and get ready for a big test,” he said.
Dudson, meanwhile, was also handed a £300 fine for the Grade C offence and will miss Warriors’ trip to Catalan Dragons on Saturday as well as the home clash with Hull FC on Friday, July 18 and Wigan’s visit to Bradford Bulls on Sunday, July 27.