Seven heaven for Powell as squad numbers revealed

Sam Powell at Haigh Hall yesterday
Sam Powell at Haigh Hall yesterday
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Sam Powell will wear the No.7 shirt for this year - though Sam Tomkins could still get the halfback shirt.

Wigan have confirmed their squad numbers for 2018, with Thomas Leuluai moving to No.9 - following his request to play more at hooker, rather than at scrum-half.

Powell takes over his old number but executive director Kris Radlinski says they are taking a fluid approach to who will partner George Williams in the halfback spots.

“The other halfback position will be taken either by Sam Tomkins or Sam Powell, and fullback by Sam Tomkins or Morgan Escaré after he achieves full fitness - with those decisions being taken by Shaun Wane and his team as the season develops,” said Radlinski.

“Consequently, Sam Powell is named with the No.7 shirt, having proven over years to be an invaluable organising member of the squad, but may spend time at hooker.

“The blend of form, fitness and performance on the field will determine positions as the season develops but with a determination to play exciting rugby as well as being organised to win.”

Tom Davies has dislodged injured winger Dom Manfredi from the ‘starting’ No.2 shirt. Tony Clubb has replaced Frank-Paul Nuuausala at No.8, and Dan Sarginson take the No.3 vacated by Anthony Gelling.

Ryan Sutton (15), Morgan Escaré (20) and Liam Marshall (22) all take on new numbers ahead of the start of the season.

Recruit Gabriel Hamlin has been given the No.30 shirt.

Radlinski said: “Squad numbers are always of great interest to fans – even more so this season because of the exciting options in attack which Shaun Wane has available – and we felt it important to put in perspective some of the squad numbers announced.

“The squad numbers give only an indication as to what positions players will play and key combinations are constantly being worked on in training, particularly in the “spine-of-the-team” key positions at fullback, halfback, hooker and loose forward.

“Having finished last season so disappointingly, it has been a long off-season and the players are hungry to put things right and get back out on the field. We want to play effective rugby and win games but realise the importance of attractive rugby to the matchday experience and hope that this competition for ‘spine’ places will help reinvigorate the team.”

The number 18 has again been left vacant for the supporters.

Warriors 2018 squad numbers (2017 number in brackets if changed):

1. Sam Tomkins, 2. Tom Davies (36), 3. Dan Sarginson, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Joe Burgess, 6. George Williams, 7. Sam Powell (16), 8. Tony Clubb (15), 9. Thomas Leuluai (7), 10. Ben Flower, 11. Joel Tomkins, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin, 14. John Bateman, 15. Ryan Sutton (19), 16. Frank-Paul Nuuausala (8), 17. Taulima Tautai, 18. Wigan Fans, 19. Willie Isa (20), 20. Morgan Escaré (22), 21. Dom Manfredi (2), 22. Liam Marshall (35), 23. Josh Ganson (33), 24. Jake Shorrocks (25), 25. Romain Navarrete (26), 26. Jack Wells (28), 27. Callum Field (37), 28. Liam Forsyth (32), 29. Jack Higginson, 30. Gabriel Hamlin, 31. Joe Bretherton (24), 32. Caine Barnes (38), 33. Macauley Davies (31), 34. Josh Woods (39), 35. Oliver Partington (40), 36. Samuel Kibula, 37. James Worthington (41), 38. Craig Mullen, 39. Liam Paisley.