World Club Challenge: Wigan coach Shaun Wane confident on fitness of England trio

Last Updated: 09/02/14 4:33pm

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Wigan coach Shaun Wane remains confident Sean O'Loughlin, Michael McIlorum and Josh Charnley will be available for their World Club Challenge match against the Sydney Roosters.

Having been beaten in their opening Super League encounter by Huddersfield Giants on Friday night, the Warriors fly to the southern hemisphere on Saturday.

First up for Wane's side is a warm-up match against New Zealand Warriors at the Waikato Stadium on Wednesday. Opponents who landed full-back Sam Tomkins in a world-record transfer.

Wigan then have 10 days to prepare for their showdown with the Roosters on February 22 and Wane is assured his trio of England internationals will be fit.

O'Loughlin was a late withdrawal from Friday's game after failing to shake off a hamstring injury, McIlorum played only 16 minutes after damaging a hamstring while warming up and Charnley is still recuperating from a hernia operation.

"Josh had a slight chance to play today so he'll definitely have some game time against New Zealand Warriors. We'll look after the other two on the flight."
Shaun Wane

"Josh had a slight chance to play today so he'll definitely have some game time against New Zealand Warriors," Wane said.

"We'll look after the other two on the flight. I'm not sure about them playing against New Zealand but they'll be right for the big game in Sydney."

In addition to their injury concerns, Wigan will be made to sweat on the availability of new signing Matty Bowen after he was placed on report on debut for a high and late tackle on Huddersfield full-back Scott Grix.

Reaction

Wane will only discover whether the former North Queensland Cowboys full-back, signed as a replacement for the departed Tomkins, will be charged by the Rugby Football League's match-review panel on Monday.

"I didn't see much in it," he added. "It was more reaction from Matty and I am sure the committee will view that favourably."

Wane is taking a squad of 27 players down under and intends to give run-outs to those not involved in Friday's match against the Aucklanders in Hamilton.

Wane's post-match reaction

"Between this game and the New Zealand one, everybody will get a run and have a chance to put their hands up to play in Sydney," he said.

"That will probably be the biggest game of their careers coming up."

Sam Powell, who played most of the game against Huddersfield at hooker in the absence of McIlorum, bolstered his claims of featuring against the Roosters after impressing the Warriors coach.

"I thought Sam Powell had a dig," Wane added. "He was under the pump because I couldn't put Micky on.

"They obviously targeted him but I thought he stood up, he played tough. He was far and away man of the match. I wasn't happy with anybody else."

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