Wigan Warriors captain Sean O’Loughlin warns Camp Nou occasion must not distract them from the job
Amid the splendour of the venue and the magnitude of the occasion, Sean O’Loughlin says Wigan can’t get distracted from their main priority - claiming the two points.
The eyes of the rugby league world – and further afield - will be on the Warriors when they take on Catalans in a ground-breaking match in Barcelona.
A Super League record crowd is expected at the Nou Camp, one of the most iconic stadiums in the world.
Catalans are joint-third in the table but if Wigan win, they will close the gap to just two points.
And O’Loughlin, 36, is treating this as a proverbial four-pointer.
“We’re not far off in the table,” he said. “But we need to be beating the teams just above and around us.
“Every time we lose the gap gets bigger.
“If we get the two points we’ll move up pretty quickly but if we don’t, it becomes a tougher and tougher obstacle.”
It hasn’t got the high-stakes feel of a Challenge Cup or play-offs match, but O’Loughlin says their desire to get the two points should drive up the standard of the match.
“We all want to see a good spectacle, and that comes from it being competitive, not play anything different - you need to play your own game,” he said.
“They’ll be desperate to get the win, this is a huge occasion for them in their history, and they’ll be bang on.
“But we want to build on what we’ve done in Super League in recent weeks.
“We need to keep winning games, it’s a special occasion but it’s a big two points as well.”
O’Loughlin has played several times at Wembley and Old Trafford, as well as some of the world’s other top venues, and he doesn’t take this chance for granted.
“This will be one of the biggest venues I’ve played at, not just size-wise but the history that goes with it - it’s known worldwide and I’m excited,” he added. “When we knew there
was a chance of this game taking place everyone was like, ‘Please make it happen’.
“For Wigan, it’s a big honour to be invited and I know Wigan fans love the trip over and more than ever are going over.
“It seems everyone you bump into is either going or knows someone who is. For us to take 4,000 for an away game, it’s great.”