Wigan Warriors- Talking Rugby: A competitive clash awaits at the spiritual home of the Magic Weekend

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It’s set to be a great spectacle when Wigan Warriors take on St Helens at the Magic Weekend this Saturday.

It’s the biggest clash in Super League, so to have it back at one of the biggest events in the competition makes sense.

Hopefully St James’ Park will be bouncing when the two teams enter the field of play, in what should be the best clash between the two this season.

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The strength of Saints prevailed in the Good Friday Derby, while the Warriors enjoyed a great first half in the Challenge Cup semi-final at Elland Road, before having to come from behind after the break.

Wigan Warriors take on St Helens at St James' Park this weekendWigan Warriors take on St Helens at St James' Park this weekend
Wigan Warriors take on St Helens at St James' Park this weekend

With the current form of Matty Peet’s side, this should be a competitive affair and a real opportunity for both sides to give themselves a real boost heading into the latter stages of the season.

Saints being without Tommy Makinson for the game, and the next few weeks, will be a major blow.

He’s currently the top scorer in Super League, and has been a key component to their success over the last few years.

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The Warriors head into this match on the back of another efficient victory, with a 46-22 win against Wakefield on Sunday.

There was plenty to be pleased about in attack once again, with three players going over for braces.

One of the standouts was from Bevan French, as he showed his usual fancy footwork to shift his way past the defence and go over.

We could very well see him start at fullback once again this weekend, with Jai Field set to remain in the halves.

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In hindsight, it has worked out well initially putting French back in the side on the wing and waiting for the right moment to move him back to his preferred position, with injuries of course presenting him with that chance as well.

He’s looking stronger and stronger each week, and this will be the best version of him Saints will face so far this season.

It’ll be interesting to see how they cope with him, especially if he continues his excellent partnership with Field.

They will also have to prepare for a confident Abbas Miski, who is well and truly finding his feet with Wigan.

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He’s making things harder and harder each week for Peet when picking his squad.

It’s going to be tough for the head coach not to select him, due to the huge improvements he is making in his game each week.

It was also great on Sunday to see that Kai Pearce-Paul was back playing at centre.

Before his injury back in March, he was really starting to make that position his own, and hopefully he will do that once again.

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Ahead of Wigan’s game with Saints, Wakefield take on Toulouse, in what is turning into quite the relegation battle at the bottom of the table.

The recent form of Willie Poching’s side could make the next few months very interesting between these sides.

Toulouse have certainly struggled as well, with a lot of work to do to close the gap, but this weekend’s match could go a long way.

They’ve already beaten Trinity once this season, and on the back of last week’s win against Hull KR, confidence could be building.

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They may also receive the support of quite a few of the neutrals who could be in St James’ Park.

Hopefully, no matter what happens on Saturday, it will remain close between these two until the final week of games, as that can only be a positive for rugby league in terms of entertainment.

Elsewhere this week, Tony Smith has parted ways with Hull KR.

It’s a shame things haven’t worked out there between the two, as for a long time it seemed like he had the club heading in the right direction.

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Under his stewardship, especially last season, Rovers were a dangerous team to face and could cause their opponents some serious problems.

He injected life back into the club, taking them from a side under the threat of relegation to a team battling for the playoffs.

It was very peculiar a few months ago when Smith suddenly announced he would be leaving at the end of the season.

Apparently it shocked the club itself, with some people within it apparently not knowing the decision had been made until it was out in the public.

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Of course, that has had a negative effect on their results, losing seven of their last eight games in all competitions.

It’s a disappointing end to what was a good tenure on the whole, but probably best for both parties, considering Smith was leaving anyway in a few months time.

Danny McGuire has now taken over until the end of the campaign, and is a great opportunity for him personally to test himself as a head coach, if it’s something he wants to pursue going forward.

A big game awaits for his first outing, as the Robins take on their rivals Hull FC at the Magic Weekend.

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With Brett Hodgson’s side having lost five of their last six games, it’s a big chance for both teams to refind some form, and inflict more pressure onto their opponents.

Finally, the Magic Weekend is a true highlight of the Super League calendar and St James’ Park has become its spiritual home.

It’ll be fantastic to be back up in the North East, along with the many fans who will also make the trip.

As a city, Newcastle is the perfect venue for the event and it’s set to be a great weekend.