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Match Preview: Catalan (H) - 8th April 2011 at DW Stadium.
Posted by Bilko on April 06 2011 - 19:10

Wigan Warriors v Catalan Dragons - Engage Super League XVI Round 8.
Friday 8th April 2011. Kick Off 8:00pm at DW Stadium.

Match Preview

I think it's fair to say that March was a very tough month for Wigan but April and May should give Wigan a great opportunity to really get this season motoring forward.

It is worth pointing out that we haven't played any of the current bottom three sides so far this season and that will be rectified in the next few weeks. Of course wins cannot be guaranteed but it's a safe bet we will now get on a good run with seven of our next eight fixtures coming up against sides in the bottom half of the table. It's a perfect opportunity to put a big assault on first place, especially considering Warrington cocked up big style last weekend.

Catalan showed last week in beating Warrington that on their day they can frustrate and beat the big boys but the trouble is they also quite often put in performances of complete garbage when playing in the UK. In 2008 and 2009 they came here to Wigan and battled out two very close contests, winning one and losing one, but they've also lost 58-0, 40-4 and 30-0 here over the years.

The question is can they back up that Warrington performance again at Wigan just five days later? I've got to be honest I don't think they can. What they like to do is frustrate and keep the crowd very quiet. It's exactly what they did to Warrington. I listened the match on Wire FM and you could hear a pin drop in the background. Hull FC certainly quietened the Wigan crowd last month and it needed a red card to lift us for the late rally but their is one big difference this time round.

That difference is the return of the legend Pat Richards. I think it's fair to call him a proper Wigan legend now he has a title medal, a man of steel, can goal kick for fun and his try scoring record is amazingly impressive for the modern day Super League.

Do you know he has an 83.4% strike rate when he's started on the wing for Wigan. That's 86 tries in 103 starts out wide. At full back that strike rate drops dramatically to 36.5% (15 tries in 41 starts at Full Back) and that is why you never, ever consider moving Pat off the wing.

To put that wing strike rate into some perspective, Jason Robinson, who is one of the finest wingers I've ever seen, and in both codes of Rugby as well, had a strike rate of just 63% during his Wigan career when he started on either wing (that's 152 tries in 241 wing starts).

I think it's fair to say Robinson played in far better sides that Richards? Either way, it's amazing to just try to contemplate in my head that Pat is a 20% better winger than Robinson, but in terms of prolific try scoring, that is a fact!

Now overall Pat has a 69% strike rate if you include his full back and odd centre appearances but his wing only strike rate is only really beaten overall by the likes of Jim Leytham, Jack Hilton, Johnny Lawrenson, Brian Nordgren, Billy Boston, Trevor Lake, Ellery Hanley and Martin Offiah - anyone who knows their Wigan  history will know that is some pretty fine company to follow behind.

I have been cursing and cursing and cursing our poor last tackle options in recent match reports but having Pat back on the left wing gives us the option of using his prowess in the air. When he leaps like a gazelle for the ball he is unstoppable if he collects. Only last week in the Under 20s he scored one of his trademark tries from a kick (click here to view). It'll be fantastic to have him back fit and I haven't even mentioned his goal kicking in telling you why!

It is understood that Pat will start with Brett Finch also coming back into the starting line up. It's been a tough baptism for Brett to start his Wigan career against Warrington and Leeds (amazingly some Wigan fan's are already on his back, seriously.......go to your rooms!) but I expect he will have more time to find his rhythm against the French. I've no doubt Finch will come good in the next few weeks, especially if Paul Deacon returns to play along side him. The official site says Deacon is "not too far away" so maybe we will see that combo when Good Friday comes round against Saints?

The other change looks set to be young prop Dominic Crosby being given a debut for the suspended Jeff Lima. I'll be very pleased if that happens. Dom only joined our academy, at the late age of 19, ahead of last season but has improved from a very raw looking player into a very accomplished front row. Definitely deserves his chance. He has grafted his way towards it with consistently solid performances in the Under 20s. It says a lot that in the eyes of the coaching staff he has worked his way ahead of Ben Davies (currently on loan at Barrow) who I don't think would let us down either.

Coach Maguire could opt for Stefan Marsh or Josh Charnley ahead of him but that would be a wrong decision in my view. This is a perfect game to give Dom a debut in. Who knows, he may well be needed further over the busy Easter period and it's better to play him now than perhaps needing to throw him into a Good Friday debut or something like that.

Catalan have suffered a blow with Clint Greenshields being ruled out for three months. Also top try and goal kicker for them, Scott Dureau, was stretchered off at Warrington last week after being sent to hospital for x-rays on his neck. Apparently he ran the show for them last week and one look at their player stats down the page tells you how vital he to them in attack. He probably will play but it could be a gamble.

Have to say though, the Catalan side are now in their sixth season and whilst I do think the club are an asset to Super League, on the field, where in the progress? Again look at the player stats down the page and all but one of the positive stats are non French players. Ok they have produced an excellent pack of French forwards, but where are the backs? Whilst Thomas Bosc had a brilliant season in 2008, I don't really think they've produced a top draw back of any note so far. I mean France were beaten by Wales for a place in this year's Four Nations! That is embarrassing and head's should have rolled from that debacle. Absolutely no excuse for it!

One final thing. If the RFL's kit directives are correct, the Catalan side will be playing in their always fantastic blood and gold away strip at Wigan on Friday. Those colours are the colours of the Catalan flag and you can't bloody miss them flags if you go to a Catalan game away let me tell you. They are great colours and I've always thought that the Catalan club have had their strips the wrong way round. Blood and Gold represents the region, hence why our Catalan RLFans.com sister site is called sang-et-or.net ("sang et or" meaning blood and gold) so why not have that as their home shirt? I think it's far better than the white home strip they use. Anyway's that's neither here nor there, just thought I'd make the point lol. Enjoy the game, hopefully Wigan get a big win to set us off for a big month!

19 Man Squads

Wigan
IN:l Pat Richards, Dom Crosby, Jack Hughes
OUT:l Jeff Lima, Amos Roberts, Liam Farrell
Full 19: Sam Tomkins, Darrell Goulding, George Carmont, Pat Richards, Thomas Leuluai, Michael McIlorum, Andy Coley, Harrison Hansen, Joel Tomkins, Sean O'Loughlin, Paul Prescott, Ryan Hoffman, Brett Finch, Lee Mossop, Chris Tuson, Stefan Marsh, Josh Charnley, Dom Crosby, Jack Hughes.

Note: Jack Hughes is a late replacement for Liam Farrell who has been injured in training.

Catalan
IN:l Damien Blanch
OUT:l Clint Greenshields
Full 19: Damian Blanch, Ben Farrar, Setaimata Sa, Cyril Stacul, Scott Dureau, David Ferriol, Ian Henderson, Rémi Casty, Steve Menzies, Sébastien Raguin, Grégory Mounis, Jean-Phillipe Baile, Daryl Millard, Frédéric Vaccari, Michael Simon, Sébastien Martins, Jason Baitieri, Eloi Pelissier, Mathias Pala.

Match Referee

James Child (Dewsbury) - Age 26
First Pro Game: Gateshead 54 Workington 6 - 17th April 2006
First Super League Game: Wakefield 30 Catalans 10 - 15th March 2009
First Wigan Game: Wigan 38 Crusaders 6 - 5th April 2010

Wigan's Record when this referee is appointed

Wigan have Won 6 and Lost 0 from 6 appointments.
This Season: Won 1 and Lost 0 from 1 appointment.

Video Referee

N/A

Current Super League XVI League Positions

  Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
5th Wigan Warriors 7 4 2 1 154 106 +48 10
9th Catalan Dragons 8 3 0 5 153 187 -34 6

Super League Team Stats - Averages per Game

- Wigan Catalan League Best League Worst
Attack Points per Game 22pts

19.1pts

Warr'ton 31.8pts Wakefield 15.5pts
Defence Pts Agst per Game 15.1pts

23.3pts

Hudds'field 14.7pts Crusaders 30.2pts
Tries Scored per Game 4

3.3

Warrington 5.6 Wakefield 2.7
Tries Conceded per Game 2.5

4.2

Wigan 2.5 (3 Teams) 5.2
Metres Made per Game 1312m

1375m

St Helens 1478m Hull KR 1170m
Ball Carries per Game 212.5

213.8

St Helens 233.2 Hull KR 191.8
Av.Metres per Ball Carry 6.17m

6.43m

Hudds'field 6.75m Salford 5.97m
Tackle Busts per Game 23.8

21.8

Hudds'field 30.6 Wakefield 16.2
Clean Breaks per Game 4.8

4.1

Leeds 6.3 Wakefield 3
Offloads per Game 8

15

Leeds 17.6 Castleford 7.7
Attacking Kicks per Game 10.1

14.2

Catalan 14.2 Harlequins 9.7
Kicks in Gen Play per Game 20.8

20.1

Wakefield 21.6 Leeds 16.2
Dummy Half Runs per Game 45.8

36

St Helens 48.3 Hull KR 21.1
Tackles per Game 348.2

306.8

Wigan 348.2 Leeds 281.6
Marker Tackles per Game 54.5

40.6

Bradford 53.6 Leeds 36
Errors per Game 10.8

14.6

Castleford 10.1

Leeds 15.1
Penalties Against per Game 7.7

7.6

St Helens 5.5 Wakefield 10.6

Individual Player Stats

- Wigan Catalan League Leader
Top Try Scorer Josh Charnley 4

D.Blanch/S.Dureau 4

Kris Welham 8
Top Goal Scorer Paul Deacon 11

Scott Dureau 21

Brett Hodgson 34
Top Points Scorer Josh Charnley 26

Scott Dureau 57

Kirk Dixon 80
Top Try Assister Sean O'Loughlin 4

Scott Dureau 7

Kevin Sinfield 10
Top Metre Maker Sam Tomkins 906m

Cyril Stacul 870m

James Roby 1495m
Top Ball Carrier Sam Tomkins 121

Ian Henderson 150

James Roby 292
Top Tackle Buster Sam Tomkins 31

Ben Farrar 17

Jonny Lomax 32
Top Clean Breaker Sam Tomkins 9

Damian Blanch 8

(3 Players) 9
Top Offloader George Carmont 9

Steve Menzies 21

(2 Players) 22
Top Attacking Kicker Thomas Leuluai 27

Scott Dureau 49

Danny Brough 67
Top General Kicker Thomas Leuluai 52

Scott Dureau 80

Danny Brough 110
Top DH Runner Mike McIlorum 105

Ian Henderson 119

James Roby 242
Top Tackler Mike McIlorum 248

Ian Henderson 320

C.Fitzgibbon 383
Top Marker Tackler Liam Farrell 44

Ian Henderson 48

C.Fitzgibbon 70
Worst Miss Tackler Harrison Hansen 15

Scott Dureau 27

E.Whitehead 34
Most Errors Josh Charnley 9

Cyril Stacul 14

Kevin Sinfield 16
Most Pens Conceded O'L'lin/Hoffman 8

Gregory Mounis 9

Michael Witt 14

Super League Era Head to Head Record including Play Offs

Overall Played 13 Wigan 8 Wins Catalan 4 Wins 1 Draws
At DW Stadium Played 6 Wigan 5 Wins Catalan 1 Wins 0 Draws

Super League Form Table - Last Six League Matches Only

- Team W D L F A Diff Sequence Pts
1 Warrington Wolves 5 0 1 213 82 +131 10
2 Huddersfield Giants 5 0 1 166 82 +84 10
3 Castleford Tigers 5 0 1 169 102 +67 10
4 Wigan Warriors 4 1 1 138 90 +48 9
5 St Helens 4 0 2 148 116 +32 8
6 Bradford Bulls 4 0 2 156 162 -6 8
7 Catalan Dragons 3 0 3 135 138 -3 6
8 Salford City Reds 3 0 3 126 128 -2 6
9 Leeds Rhinos 2 1 3 162 146 +16 5
10 Hull FC 2 0 4 128 122 +6 4
11 Harlequins 2 0 4 131 204 -73 4
12 Hull Kingston Rovers 1 0 5 122 186 -64 2
13 Crusaders 1 0 5 120 210 -90 2
14 Wakefield Wildcats 1 0 5 66 162 -96 2

Wigan Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 3, Drawn 1 Lost 2

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
1st April Leeds (A) SL 16 Round 8 Draw 22-22
25th March Warrington (H) SL 16 Round 7 Lost 06-24
18th March Huddersfield (A) SL 16 Round 6 Won 20-06
13th March Hull FC (H) SL 16 Round 5 Won 14-12
4th March Salford (A)

SL 16 Round 4

Won 32-16
27th February St George (H) World Challenge Lost 15-21

Wigan 2011 League Home Record
Played 2: Won 1 and Lost 1 (Ranked: 5th Best in League) - 50% Win Rate.

Leeds Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 3 Lost 3

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
3rd April Warrington (A) SL 16 Round 8 Won 22-20
26th March Salford (H) SL 16 Round 7 Lost 10-22
18th March Crusaders (A) SL 16 Round 6 Won 32-22
12th March Castleford (A) SL 16 Round 5 Lost 24-34
5th March St Helens (H) SL 16 Round 4 Lost 16-22
27th February Hull KR (A) SL 16 Round 3 Won 31-18

Catalan 2011 League Away from Home Record
Played 5: Won 3 and Lost 2 (Ranked: 7th Best in League) - 60% Win Rate.

Previous Six Meetings at DW Stadium

Date Opposition Report
26th Feb 2010 Wigan Warriors 58 Catalan Dragons 00 Click Here
10th July 2009 Wigan Warriors 24 Catalan Dragons 22 Click Here
11th Apr 2008 Wigan Warriors 24 Catalan Dragons 26 Click Here
15th June 2007 Wigan Warriors 30 Catalan Dragons 00 Click Here
4th Aug 2006 Wigan Warriors 40 Catalan Dragons 04 Click Here
18th June 2006 Wigan Warriors 24 Catalan Dragons 18 Click Here

Ticket Details

Stand ConAdultsiors Concs/Juniors
West Stand Gold £22 £16
West Stand Blue £21 £15
East Stand Silver £20 £14
East Stand Red £19 £13
South Stand SOLD OUT SOLD OUT
North Stand (Visitors) CLOSED CLOSED

Ticket Hotline: 0871 66 33 552
Click Here for Stadium Seating Map

UK TV Coverage

Try Highlights Sunday 6:00pm -
Try Highlights Sunday 9:30pm -
Try Highlights Monday 10:00pm -

Radio Commentary

BBC Radio Manchester (95.1FM) - I'm told will be flip-flopping between Jack Dearden at our game and Phil Kinsella at the Huddersfield v Warrington match. They'll see how it goes and if one game blows out they'll concentrate more on the other.

Wish FM (102.4) will be carrying updates only on this contest. The commentary game for them will be Crusaders v St Helens with Graham Lovett updating on our game at the DW.

Bilko's Statistical prediction.

The stats suggest a Wigan Win by 10-12 Points.

Weather Forecast

Dry Night.

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