Rugby League

St. Helens host the Warriors for the biggest derby in Rugby League

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St. Helens currently sit in second position on 24 points with Wigan only a point and a place behind them. After top of the table Leeds Rhinos lost on Thursday night, a Saints win will make them league leaders, whereas a Wigan victory will pull them to within one point of top spot.

Langtree Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Warriors in recent years, having won two of the three games played between the two sides there since the ground's opening in 2012. They also hold a victory earlier in 2015's reverse fixture; a 12-4 win at the DW Stadium in April.

Saints are one of the form sides in the league at the moment, winning five of their previous six games. For a margin of little over 36 hours, they sat at the top of the league last weekend, after comprehensively defeating Salford on Friday night, prior to Leeds playing on the Sunday afternoon.

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On that same Sunday afternoon, Wigan travelled to Huddersfield, gaining two points from a match in which they were behind no less than 3 times. Two sides were level at 12-12 at half time, with Wigan putting in a stellar performance to win the second half 20-6 and ultimately run out 18-32 victors. 

The only trouble which St. Helens faced in their 32-12 defeat of Salford was on their ever growing injury list. Josh Jones, Tommy Makinson, and James Roby were all forced from the field in that contest. Their names can now be put along side Lomax, Wellens, Dawson, Walsh, Walker, Greenwood, Vea, and Charnock, who are still injured, and Hohaia, whose injuries forced him to retire earlier in the season.

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It's quite the opposite news for Wigan. Coach Shaun Wane announced in his press conference on Tuesday that both Dom Crosby and Michael McIlorum are expected to return from injury and be available for selection in the match. 

The bookies make the Saints the favourites, in light of their recent form and home advantage, as Wigan have won away from the DW Stadium only three times all seasons, two of which have occurred in the last fortnight, in the games against Leeds, at the Magic Weekend, and Huddersfield. Further, one must look back to 2011 for the last time the Warriors beat St. Helens both home and away.

But the injury book tells its own story. A Saints fan would tell you that of those 12 players injured, at least seven could be said to be on the team sheet to start each game. And they are players of highly important positions, including Walsh at half back, the ever influential Roby at dummy half, and Makinson, last year's top try scorer for the Saints.

Consequently, the expectation will be for the full strength Warriors side, who are in brilliant form, with only two losses in their last eight games, one of those being in the Challenge Cup, to run out victors by an impressive margin for the travelling fans.

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Topics:
Rugby League
Wigan Warriors
St Helens
Super League

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