Ex-Wigan Warriors hooker Micky McIlorum on 'once in a lifetime' Camp Nou chance

Micky McIlorum. SWPix
Micky McIlorum. SWPix

Micky McIlorum says the Nou Camp game has been the talk of the town in Perpignan.

The ex-Warriors hooker returns from injury to face his former club in Barcelona today.

And he says there has been a real appetite for the ground-breaking match among the locals.

The French RL have postponed matches this weekend to try and encourage rugby league fans to make the trip across the border.

"The Catalans people are very proud and as soon as it was announced it's been the talk of the town," said McIlorum.

"It feels like a Challenge Cup game, there's been quite a big build-up and it feels win at all costs.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, it's great to play at these stadiums but it's two points, we need to realise that."

McIlorum, speaking on a video link press conference, was asked whether Wigan's rocky start to the campaign reflected an eroding culture following the exit of Shaun Wane and three senior players at the end of last year.

"To question that is strong when they've only played three months - culture doesn't change over that short range of time," he said.

"A couple of players left but they're starting to find their form, and I think you'll see the real Wigan over the next couple of months.

"I thought they were unlucky to lose to Warrington last week."

Catalans were invited to play at the Nou Camp following their Challenge Cup win at Wembley last August.

"To be the first French team to win the Cup, and to win the first trophy for any club... all of our names will go down in history," he added. "At Wigan it was a bit different - you win something and you're just a small part in history. But they're all great for different reasons."