Wane relishing huge occasion at Wembley

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

SHAUN Wane spoke of his overwhelming feeling of pride at the prospect of leading out his hometown club in a Challenge Cup final.

The Wigan-born coach watched on in delight on Saturday as the Warriors tore London apart, beating them 70-0 in the semi-final.

Wane was assistant to Michael Maguire back in 2011 when Wigan won the famous trophy for the first time in nine years.

Now though, it’s his turn to take up the mantle and will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Colin Clarke and Mike Gregory to coach their hometown club in the Challenge Cup final.

“It is a real, real special occasion for me, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Wane.

“For a Wigan-born lad to do that with my hometown club is a great feeling and what I am proud of is the players’ attitude this week.

“We had a short turnaround and a lot of players not training regularly so we’ve really been busted this week.”

As well as the fluidity in attack and stylish play, Wane was just as pleased - if not moreso - with the attitude of his players.

This was the side that just five days earlier had come off from a crushing derby defeat at arch rivals St Helens.

But Wigan showed no sign of pain and dominated with around three-quarters of the possession.

Wane added: “The attitude to come off from a difficult game was fantastic, It was a different sort of mental toughness this week where people expected us to win so for us to perform as ruthless as we did was a great effort.

“In a big game, even in the last five minutes they had set after set on our line, and we still defended with a lot of fire and a lot of desire.”

Wane also reserved special praise for Pat Richards.

The winger scored 30 of Wigan’s 70 points in a dazzling display kicking 11 goals from 13 attempts.

“He can kick and he’s a real good player, His attitude in training has been fantastic,” beamed Wane.

“He’s not trained this week so see him to perform like that is a testament to Paddy, he’s a great individual.”

Richards’ points total was a record number of points for one player in a Challenge Cup semi-final, overtaking Frano Botica’s total of 22 against Bradford back in 1992.

But the Irish international is taking all his plaudits with a pinch of salt and says the only think that mattered was the result.

“It doesn’t matter at all, we got the win,” he insisted.

“That’s all that matters. We were lucky enough to get there two years ago and it was such an amazing experience.

“We believed in ourselves and I’m glad we got the job done.

“I didn’t expect it to be quite so one-sided. We obviously knew that London were going to throw everything at us but we started pretty well.”