Warriors to play Widnes TONIGHT away from home

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

Wigan Warriors’ postponed match with Widnes Vikings will now take place tonight, but away from the DW Stadium.

Widnes will host the match at the Select Security Stadium, and the match will kick off at 8pm.

Widnes were due to host Wigan on July 2, but now Warriros will host the Vikings in summer at the DW, rather than surrender home advantage.

Wigan Warriors Chairman Ian Lenagan said: “Directors of both clubs have been in discussions throughout the night and we believe that this is the best outcome for all involved.

“The DW Stadium management have agreed to shorten the pitch renovation works scheduled for the summer to allow us to accommodate the reversed fixture.

“We understand the frustration of fans at the lateness of this change but we have collectively worked together to find the best case solution under the circumstances.

“The Wigan club will make a significant financial contribution to compensate Widnes for the short notice of the staging of this game and our sincere thanks go to Widnes CEO James Rule who has worked tirelessly with us to get this fixture on. We look forward to the game this evening.”

Wigan fans will be allocated the East Stand for this evening’s game with all tickets priced at £10 for adults with under 16s going free. Adults can pay on the gate with under 16s tickets available from the East Stand ticket window.

Five coaches have been arranged for fans to travel free of charge available on a first come first served basis from the DW Stadium tonight.

Coaches will arrive at 5.45pm arrival for a 6.pm departure.

To book onto a coach please phone the Ticket Hotline on 0871 6633 552.

In a statement, Vikings chief executive James Rule said: “The game will kick off at 8pm. Having requested and received compensation from Wigan Warriors to help mitigate the commercial loss, the club felt that it should make a gesture to both sets of supporters. We have reduced our ticketing price to a flat rate of £10 for all categories and children (Under 16s) will be free.

“Last night’s announcement from Wigan caught us by surprise. As a club we have worked into the early hours of the morning, liaising with the RFL and Wigan Warriors to ascertain the options available to us. The RFL confirmed that any immediate rescheduling of this fixture could only be decided between the two clubs and conversations therefore continued throughout this morning.

“One option was to seek a rescheduling of this fixture at a later stage of the season. In our opinion, that was not a tenable option in light of the physical challenges of already having the Easter weekend fixtures and a second short turnaround weekend to facilitate the mid-season international. To then try and accommodate another week with three games would be foolhardy from both a performance and player welfare point of view.

“That left us with two options: to leave the matter in the hands of the RFL Board and pursue our club being awarded the two points, as a consequence of potential misconduct and breach of operational rules by Wigan Warriors. However, with an independent RFL Board, there is no guarantee that such an outcome would be achieved, which would leave us back in the starting position of having to accommodate a rescheduled fixture.

“We therefore deemed it in the best interest of the club to work with the stadium management and take on this fixture; I am immensely grateful for their support in facilitating this at such short notice.

“I would like to apologise on behalf of the Vikings to our supporters and those of Wigan Warriors, as well as my staff and the players of both clubs. This has been a difficult period for everybody, but it was not something that we could have forseen. We have tried to do what is best for our club, the supporters and the wider game by ensuring that this fixture could be facilitated.

A statement from the RFL reads: The Rugby Football League can confirm that Widnes Vikings and Wigan Warriors have reached an agreement to play their Betfred Super League round two fixture tonight (Friday, February 24) at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes. The clubs have agreed that this will become a Widnes Vikings home fixture and the corresponding fixture in round 20 in July will be at the DW Stadium in Wigan.

Separately the Rugby Football League can confirm it will investigate the circumstances surrounding the postponement of the game by Wigan Warriors and any potential breach of the Rugby Football League Operational Rules.

Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers will remain as the televised fixture, live on Sky Sports 2.