SHAUN Wane admits his Wigan players are feeding off talk that Leeds are “unbeatable”.
The straight-talking Warriors boss reckons their chances of winning tomorrow’s Headingley blockbuster have been widely written off.
They’re getting a lot of praise – I thought Eddie and Stevo were going to go into the South Stand at one stage – but quite rightly soShaun Wane
Leeds have beaten St Helens and Warrington in their last two matches – the latter by 49-10 – and their points-difference is more than double that of every other side, apart from Wigan.
While Wane rates the Rhinos highly, he is confident they are more than capable of registering a third-straight victory against the current Challenge Cup holders.
And he realises this Sky-televised clash is a great chance to showcase their own trophy-winning credentials. “All the talk is about how unbeatable Leeds are, how they’re like the Wigan team of the ‘80s and things like that,” said Wane.
“And we’ve won two and they’ve won one this year.
“The big motivator for us is nobody – absolutely nobody – thinks we can win.”
Wane admits Leeds are the best team in the competition and was impressed with the way they dismantled the Wolves last Friday night.
“They’re getting a lot of praise – I thought Eddie and Stevo were going to go into the South Stand at one stage – but quite rightly so,” he said.
“They play a great brand of rugby, and I want my team to go there and really compete.
“If we go there, and be competitive, and throw things at them, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Wigan’s past two victories have been achieved following losses, to Warrington and Catalans – the latter a crushing 58-16 mauling. Wane said he had an easy-task in raising his players on those occasions.
“I don’t have to get the players up – because they know if we don’t turn up, we’ll get embarrassed like Warrington did, and we don’t want that to happen,” he added.
Ryan Sutton has replaced injured Joe Burgess in the provisional 19-man squad. Fit-again Ben Flower, who was included in last week’s initial expanded squad, is set to return to the team.
Warrington yesterday confirmed the capture of Jack Hughes – Wigan’s forward on a season-long loan at Huddersfield – for 2016. Hughes was a free agent after Warriors chose not to take up his option.
Rugby manager Kris Radlinski said: “Jack is at a stage in his career where he feels that he needs to be playing regularly. Unfortunately we are unable to guarantee him that at Wigan with Joel Tomkins, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin and John Bateman.”