Teenage Jack happy with debut

Michael McIlorum, Joel Tomkins and Jack Hughes in defence - Wigan Warriors v Barrow Raiders, Carnegie Challenge Cup
Michael McIlorum, Joel Tomkins and Jack Hughes in defence - Wigan Warriors v Barrow Raiders, Carnegie Challenge Cup

TEENAGE forward Jack Hughes admits he was shocked to be handed his Wigan bow last Sunday.

The 19-year-old is the latest player to roll off Warriors’ conveyor belt of home-grown talent.

Michael Maguire has already handed chances to the likes of Liam Farrell, Stefan Marsh and Josh Charnley during his spell in charge and, at the weekend gave Hughes a place in the team that cruised past Barrow 52-0.

The ex-Wigan St Jude’s amateur admits the first-team call-up was a real bolt from the blue, considering the wealth of talent in the back-row at the club.

Golborne-raised Hughes said: “I didn’t think I’d get in this year, I thought I’d have to bide my time.

“If you look at our squad, and look at the back-rowers who are in front of me, I’m a long way away really, so I was chuffed to get in.

“I had a voice mail off Madge (Michael Maguire) on Friday night, asking me to train the following morning because Lee Mossop was a doubt with a hamstring injury.

“I turned up for training on Saturday and Lee pulled out, so I knew I was in.

“I was meant to playing for the Under-20s that afternoon in Castleford, so I was pulled out of that.”

With Mossop joining Harrison Hansen on the sidelines and Joel Tomkins continuing at centre, Hughes came off the bench for two spells and was hungry to get involved, earning praise from his team-mates and coaches for his composure and effort.

“I was very nervous, not about the game but the crowd,” he admitted.

“But the lads were great and wished me well and told me to run hard, tackle hard and do the basics right.

“The big difference was the speed of our attack, it was much quicker than what I’ve been used to, but I thought I went okay – I didn’t make any errors so I was pretty pleased. I’ll just keep doing my best and working hard and hopefully I’ll get another chance.”

Hughes debuted against the club where he has spent the past month on a dual-registration.

“I think they went easy on me! I came away nice and clean,” he joked.

Hughes was one of six players promoted to the senior squad by Maguire at the end of last year, along with prop Dom Crosby, centres Ryan King and Matt Russell, hooker Logan Tomkins and scrum-half Sam Powell.

Maguire added: “Jack did a great job for us. It just goes to show there are quite a lot of young players available.”