Injury blow for Leuluai

Tommy Leuluai has been sidelined with a broken jaw
Tommy Leuluai has been sidelined with a broken jaw

Thomas Leuluai has suffered a broken jaw, Shaun Wane has confirmed.

The Kiwi halfback let Sunday’s 42-22 win against Catalans cradling his jaw.

Scans have confirmed their worst fears.

Wigan won’t know how long he will be sidelined for until after he has seen a specialist today.

But players with broken jaw injuries have often been sidelined for at least six weeks.

Leuluai suffered the same injury playing for New Zealand last autumn.

He recovered in time to start his comeback campaign with Wigan, and has been in fine form for Wane’s men.

His injury is a huge blow for the Warriors, who are already without a string of players.

The player who would be next in line to fill Leuluai’s spot, Jake Shorrocks, was last week ruled out until 2018 with a knee injury.

And senior players Sam Tomkins, John Bateman, Dom Manfredi, Oliver Gildart and Tony Clubb are also sidelined.

Leuluai, 31, suffered the injury during a tackle - there was no suggestion of foul play - in the 48th minute of Sunday’s game.

He cut a disconsolate figure as he accompanied the club doctor down the tunnel.

Sam Powell initially switched to halfback, before Sean O’Loughlin took the role to steer Wigan home.

Wane must now decide who to play in the pivotal role against Castleford on Saturday.

And even bigger dilemma looms the following week, after stand-off George Williams and O’Loughlin were yesterday named in the England squad to face Samoa in Sydney - ruling them out of Wigan’s match against Salford.

Powell is one option, with young hooker Josh Ganson possibly providing hooker cover for fit-again Micky McIlorum.

Utility Nick Gregson had a spell at halfback last year, while full-back Morgan Escare can also play in the role – a switch which would create an opening for Lewis Tierney to return to the side.

O’Loughlin will captain the England squad in the May 6 Test against Samoa.

Liam Farrell and Joe Burgess were overlooked for the Test - Wayne Bennett, who picked two Australians in his 20-man panel, had said he would limit his selections to a maximum of three per club.

O’Loughlin and Williams will fly out on Sunday, the day after Wigan’s game with Castleford.

Meanwhile, Warriors will discover at 6.30pm tonight who they will face in the Challenge Cup when they enter the knock-out competition.

The sixth round takes place on the weekend of May 13-14 - Sky Sports will be televising games on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th, which Wigan will be keen to avoid to give Williams and O’Loughlin more chance to recuperate from Test duty.