Wane set to ring changes

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

SHAUN Wane is ready to ring the changes ahead of Sunday’s visit of lowly North Wales Crusaders.

But he insists he won’t take “any chances” as they prepare to launch a robust defence of their Challenge Cup.

Crusaders are second-bottom of Championship One having won just one game since their creation out of the ruins of the former Super League outfit.

Wane said: “I will make some changes, I’m not sure yet how many.

“But we will be strong, we want to do well in the Cup and I won’t take any chances.

“If someone needs resting I’m comfortable with that, especially after seeing how Logan Tomkins and Anthony Gelling performed on Monday.”

The coach is hoping to welcome captain Sean O’Loughlin (hamstring) and forward Liam Farrell (thigh) back from injury after they missed the back-to-back victories over Wakefield and St Helens last weekend.

Wane is keen for them to get some game-time under their belts ahead of the Super League clash at Hull FC on April 22.

But other front-line stars could be rested following their hectic Easter schedule.

“We’ll be putting out a competitive team,” he said.

“Faz was close to playing against Wakefield, but he was sore after training so I pulled him out.

“He and Lockers both have a chance, we’ll make a decision later this week.

“Ideally they’d get a run this week, because Hull are going really well and that’s a game I want us to be at our absolute best for – our preparation needs to be spot on for that.”

Wigan leapt ahead of Hull FC into second-spot in Super League with their 36-6 triumph over Wakefield last Monday.

O’Loughlin also missed the win at Salford at the end of March, with Australian stand-off Brett Finch operating as captain in his absence.

“Finchy knows how big and important this club is,” said Wane. “He knows about Wigan’s history, the culture, and that’s why I had no doubts he could be a good captain and why I’ll have no qualms using him again if Lockers doesn’t make it.

“He’s very knowledgeable – he’s one of those really boring statto men who knows the history of everything!”

The current Crusaders set-up is barely recognisable to the outfit which props Gil Dudson and Ben Flower, as well as Wane’s No.2 Iestyn Harris, were at last season.

But one of the Warriors players knows a lot about them – prop Tom Spencer played against Crusaders on a dual registration for South Wales on Monday, scoring a try in a 34-22 defeat.