Wigan Warriors- Talking Rugby: Matty Peet's side need to pick up from where they left off before the international period

Wigan Warriors are back in action this week as they welcome Toulouse to the DW Stadium.

It feels like a lifetime since the last home game, with many trips to Yorkshire and a Challenge Cup win coming since their previous outing in front of their own fans.

The atmosphere will hopefully represent the great feeling which surrounds the club at the moment.

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The fact that Armed Forces Day will be marked in a number of things before the match will help to make the evening that bit more special.

Wigan Warriors return to the DW Stadium this evening

From their last meeting with Toulouse, Matty Peet’s side know it will be far from an easy game if they are not 100 percent on it.

Hopefully they can instantly pick up from where they left off in the last game against Salford.

While there was a break from Super League, some players were still in action on the international stage.

England produced a 18-4 victory against the All Stars at the Halliwell Jones.

There are still plenty of things to work on for Shaun Wane’s side ahead of this year’s World Cup, but they got the right result, which is a huge step forward from last year.

There were also positive signs in the performance itself, with Wigan’s John Bateman being one of them.

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The 28-year-old put in a man of the match winning performance at loose forward, and really looked lively.

His attacking plays were great, and he was difficult to contain at times.

He provided the assist for George Williams’ try in the first half, after making a powerful break through the All Stars defence.

He then added a try of his own after the break, as he showed great strength to hold onto the ball as he went over the line.

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Overall, it was an excellent evening for Bateman and he was rightly named man of the match.

Liam Farrell was also in action for England, and put in the type of solid display you’d expect from him.

Throughout the game he was making his usual weaving runs, putting the All Stars line under pressure.

He will be a very important player for England heading into the World Cup and is a great leader for Wane’s side.

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Farrell and Bateman should almost definitely be key components come October, with their influence set to be crucial.

On the All Stars concept, it is something that probably remains the best way to give England a mid-season run out, but equally still comes with its faults.

In the build-up to the game there did seem to be a bit of a scramble to get players into the squad.

Of course, injuries and suspensions are a natural part of rugby, but perhaps there could be a way round this being a problem for next year.

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While Ellery Hanley’s side didn’t always click at times, it still gave Wane an opportunity to take a look at a few extra players.

With State of Origin currently on in Australia, perhaps a Lancashire V Yorkshire format may be another way to give the England head coach further scouting opportunities in future as well, and who wouldn’t love the two counties going head-to-head.

Ultimately it’s always going to be hard to find a good international solution halfway through a season, but hopefully as France continues to develop they will be the natural opponent for test games in the future.

It wasn’t just the men in action at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, as the women had a World Cup warm-up game as well.

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Double headers are the perfect to grow interest in the sport.

A good crowd turned up to watch England beat France, in what was a positive display.

While their opponents started well, Craig Richards’ side quickly grew into the match and dominated.

Meanwhile, the following day, England Wheelchair were in action as well.

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It was great to see Sky Sports giving such high quality coverage, with the match itself proving to be a really good advert for the game.

Some of the tries were outstanding, and it’d be surprising if people weren’t inspired to go down and watch their local clubs after such an entertaining watch.

Away from the international game, the sad news broke last week about the death of Wigan legend Bill Ashurst.

The reaction on social media, and that of the current playing squad, spoke volumes about how much he meant to the community of the club.

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He was one of the great players of his time, and someone who will be heavily missed.

In 2019, Bill was among the players who attended the Warriors’ Heritage match.

His passion for the club was clear, and the joy he felt from seeing young players making their way into the first team.

He told me: “It’s always good to come back. Some people have played over 400 games for Wigan, others have played one, but irrespective of how many, the club exists because of them.

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Rugby league is a great community, the friendships are phenomenal.

“I remember the cup final appearances with Wigan, and particular games, as well as just playing with great players.

“Central Park was the maker of rugby league, but it’s still always good seeing the young players who have signed for the club, like (Morgan) Smithies, (Oliver) Partington and (Liam) Marshall.

“I’ve been lucky enough to coach some of them, and to see them turning out for this great club is just brilliant.”

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A true legend.