Two Super League heavyweights clash in Rivals Round


It’s one of Super League’s most historic and sought-after derbies this Good Friday as St Helens and Wigan Warriors clash once again at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

With it being arguably the pick of the bunch from the several rivalries played out over the weekend, bragging rights are a must for both sides heading into the clash which has produced some quite incredible moments over the years.

Saints have been the standout team in the Betfred Super League for a number of years, without any real competition coming close to their quality and dominance. But, this has been Wigan’s most promising start to a campaign in a number of years, and probably the closest they’ve felt to their arch rivals in a long period.

With a new era beginning under Matt Peet in 2022, the Warriors have looked like a refreshed and bright attacking team which play attractive and exciting rugby league, something the Cherry and White faithful have been crying out for over the past few seasons.

Watching their rivals produce some of their best rugby in many fans’ memory has simply just rubbed salt into the wounds for Wigan fans, but this year is filled with hope that they have an opportunity to win some silverware and possibly get one over Kristian Woolf’s side.

Both sides come into the clash having lost just one game all season and both prepare to face each other in the semi-finals of the Betfred Challenge cup as they clash at Elland Road in the first week of May.

Saints suffered a shock defeat to Toulouse in the South of France whilst Wigan also suffered their only defeat of the season overseas as they went down to a heavy defeat against last year’s League Leaders Shield winners Catalans Dragons.

But since those defeats, both teams’ form has been impeccable and it may be difficult to split the two sides heading into the Good Friday clash.

In terms of the team news ahead of this one, there was a bit of disruption within the Warriors camp.

A couple of changes were made when the 21-man squad was announced on Wednesday which saw Ian Thornley and Zak Hardaker miss out on derby day.

The bigger shock of the two changes was Hardaker who has been left out due to what was described as having ‘dipped below our standards off the field’.

Head coach Matt Peet confirmed Hardaker will be back in contention next week and is still very much a part of the Warriors plans going forward. The two changes saw Abbas Miski and James McDonnell come back into the 21.

As for the hosts, there’s only one change from their 21-man squad which won in the France during their Challenge Cup Quarter final victory as Curtis Sironen misses out through suspension and is replaced by Jake Wingfield.

The man in the middle with be Liam Moore whilst Chris Kendall will be on Video referee duties on Friday afternoon.

With a sell-out crowd at the Totally Wicked Stadium, there’s bound to be a bouncing atmosphere amongst both sets of supporters who feel that this is the biggest derby in Rugby League.

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