Rugby legends set to lace up their boots for DW clash

Andy Johnson in action against Canberra in 1997
Andy Johnson in action against Canberra in 1997
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WARRIORS fans will get the chance to see some of their favourite legends back in action next month at the DW Stadium.

Wigan’s home clash against Leeds on September 5, billed as The Big One Five, the Joining Jack legends team will take to the field against a select side.

The game is to enable to team to warm-up for the forthcoming Dubai Sevens tournament, which takes place between December 4 and 6 this year.

And after making their debut in 2012, the legends will once again be led by former Wigan star Andy Johnson.

Johnson, founder of the Joining Jack charity said: “This game will give us a brilliant opportunity to test our fitness and blow away a few cobwebs. We’re really excited about playing at the DW ahead of the Big One, for some of the team it will be a welcome return home.”

Last time out in Dubai, the Joining Jack side heroically reached the semi-final stage of the veterans tournament before agonisingly losing at the semi-final stage to the Scottish Exiles, a team made-up of ex-Scotland rugby union internationals.

But their experience from two years ago has only made Johnson, who played 80 times for Wigan between 1994 and 1999, more hungry for success this time around.

“Last time we went out to Dubai we prepared well and gave it our best shot but came up just short in the semi-final, this time we know what is required and are going out there to win,” he said.

“We’ve already got some huge names that have agreed to play and we’re busy working on the rest, I’m really excited and Wigan fans should be too, we are in for an amazing evening of rugby.”

The legends’ action will take place under union rules to prepare the side for their forthcoming competition to raise money for and awareness of the Joining Jack charity –then the Warriors first team will take to the field as they hunt for top spot ahead of the play-offs.

And one Warriors legend, Kris Radlinski, is thrilled to see the 10-a-side game take place before the penultimate round of the regular Super League season on the ground he called home at the end of his playing days.

Radlinski said: “The charity Joining Jack means a lot to me and I am very proud of the way the Wigan Club and our amazing fans have got behind this cause.

“We have raised a mind-blowing amount of money already which continues to help aid research into the awful condition that is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.”

And Warriors are also set to announce details of a competition for fans to be given the chance to join their heroes in Dubai.

Johnson added: “We wanted to do something to thank the Wigan fans who have been unbelievable. This competition will allow one lucky person to join us on the trip of a lifetime.”

Tickets are now on sale for the Big One Five from the DW Stadium ticket office, the ticket hotline on 0871 6633 552 and online at wiganwarriors.com