Tetley's Challenge Cup: Wary Shaun Wane remembers Catalan Dragons shock

Last Updated: 24/07/13 4:43pm

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Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane was a spectator at 2007 cup semi-final defeat by the Dragons

Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane was a spectator at 2007 cup semi-final defeat by the Dragons

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Wigan coach Shaun Wane is determined to avoid a repeat of the Challenge Cup upset of six years ago when the Warriors face London in the sem-finals on Saturday.

Catalan beat Wigan 37-24 in the 2007 semi-finals in the biggest cup shock of recent seasons, although that would be surpassed if the Broncos, who are three points adrift at the bottom of Super League, win at Leigh Sports Village.

"I went to that game and the players have reminded me about it," Wane said. "They've had a chat about it. That should have been a dead-set win for us, a similar position to what London are in.

"Catalan turned up and before our players got off the coach they scored 24 points. We don't want that feeling again."

Sean O'Loughlin, Pat Richards, Harrison Hansen, Darrell Goulding and Michael McIlorum are Wigan's survivors from that day, along with winger Liam Colbon, who is expected to be lining up for London on Saturday.

Wane took the precaution of resting his captain O'Loughlin, along with Sam Tomkins and Hansen for Monday's Super League derby at St Helens and he was unrepentant despite his side suffering a 22-16 defeat.

"I went to that game and the players have reminded me about it," Wane said. "They've had a chat about it... Catalan turned up and before our players got off the coach they scored 24 points. We don't want that feeling again."
Shaun Wane

London coach Tony Rea also fielded an under-strength team for their league game at Widnes last Friday as the Broncos set their sights on a second appearance at Wembley, where they lost to Leeds in 1999.

Prestige

"I understand what Tony has done and I fully support him," Wane said. "It's a big competition and the finances of the competition and the prestige of winning this trophy is fantastic.

"They rested players to make sure they're at their best this weekend."

Wigan have run up 112 points in their two league matches against the Broncos this season but Wane believes those results will be irrelevant on Saturday.

"It's a semi-final and it doesn't matter where you are in the league," he said. They're a Super League team. They do the same weights, same skills as us and they can play.

"Their form has not been great but it's 80 minutes of knockout football.

"We're going to give them every respect. They're a good team. A lot of their players have played in the NRL at the highest level.

"Jamie Soward is a quality player and they've got Michael Witt, Ben Fisher, (Michael) Robertson on the wing.

"We won't be under-estimating them. We'll be going there with our best game plan and total concentration.

"We're expecting a real tough game. It's their cup final and they'll turn up and run harder and play better than they have in the past. It will never be a walkover, we need to earn the right to play."

Full-strength

Wane expects to be able to select from a full-strength squad, which includes a fit-again prop Epalahame Lauaki, although he is unlikely to finalise his line-up until nearer game day because of the short-turn around which infuriated him.

"I expressed my concern to the RFL but there's nothing we can do," he said. "The decision has been made and we'll just have to make the best of it.

"We're not going to have much time on the park but the lads know what they need to do. We've a few knocks from the St Helens game but they're not serious."

Wigan's only doubt could be centre Anthony Gelling, who is to have scans on a foot injury which prevented him from training on Wednesday.

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