Challenge Cup Match Preview: Featherstone (A) - 27th April 2012 at Big Fella's Stadium
Posted by cherryandwhite on April 26 2012 - 03:33
Click Read More for Match Preview.
Extended News

Featherstone Rovers v Wigan Warriors - Carnegie Challenge Cup Round 5.
Friday 27th April 2012. Kick Off 8:00pm at Post Office Road (Big Fella's Stadium).

Match Preview

Cup holders Wigan make their first trip to Featherstone in 18 years on Friday Night looking to make the Quarter Finals of the Challenge Cup for the sixth season in a row.

It was the opening day of the last full winter season (1994-1995) that Wigan last went to Post Office Road with tries from Frano Botica (2), Paul Atcheson, Denis Betts, Jason Robinson and Kelvin Skerrett helping Wigan to a 36-24 win.

It was earlier in that year that Wigan last met Featherstone in the Challenge Cup also. Wigan won the tie 32-14, but the game is more remembered for the infamous Kelvin Skerrett "Superman Leap" over a brawl and punched referee Stuart Cummings in the face during the process. Our Andy Platt and Rovers Steve Molloy were also sent off in the same incident.

Overall Wigan have won 5 of the 6 Challenge Cup Ties between the sides, but perhaps Rovers can clutch an omen out of their one and only victory. It came sixty years ago back in 1952. The omen is that Wigan were cup holders going into that cup campaign as well but Featherstone humbled them 14-11 in a Quarter Final at Post Office Road.

"Wigan's Surprising Failure" reported the Guardian newspaper sixty years ago but I think it's fair to say it would be an even bigger shock if Featherstone went on to repeat that dose this time round.

Whilst it was a very deserved and credible victory that Rovers achieved over Castleford in the last round, their is a hell of difference between playing that side who were out of form and meeting Wigan who are scoring almost 36 points per match this season.

Wigan are also not looking like they are falling into the trap seen at Widnes earlier this season either by playing a weakened team. It looks like coach Shaun Wane will stick with the side that won at Hull except for Anthony Gelling coming in to replace the injured Pat Richards and Lee Mossop returning also.

So do Featherstone have a chance? Well the weather may help them out immensely. The recent heavy rain looks like it might turn the ground into a mudbath. The pitch looked pretty bad for the Castleford game and the weather has been pretty bad this week, and doesn't look like it'll improve much. That will obviously slow down Wigan's backs but our pack really is our strong point this year. In my view we controlled top Super League sides like Leeds, Catalan, Warrington (despite the loss) and St Helens with our forwards and so we should be able to do so easily here.

The other leveller could be goal kicking. The absence of Pat means Josh Charnley will be back on goal kicking and I really don't know what to expect from him. He has proven he could potentially be a quality kicker but hasn't found the consistency of it so far. If he has a bad day then Featherstone might get opportunities by scoring in sixes rather than fours, but I'd still expect Wigan to be too strong.

Generally though these cup ties away from home are not easy. Lest we forget fighting hard to win 32-20 at Barrow in 2009 or 34-24 at Widnes in 2007. Then again both those efforts were during the Brian Noble era when our season only really began in September and lasted about three weeks till we exited the play offs.

Rovers do have one or two players with notable Super League experience - the ginger haired full back Ian Hardman is easily recognisable from his days at St Helens and Hull KR whilst winger Tommy Saxton had spells at Castleford and Hull FC - but generally they seem to have a team of cast offs from Super League academy systems. Perhaps they will all have a point to prove though? This is a shop window for them to get back to the top flight?

Either way, for me Wigan will have to put in a bad show to lose this one and that just doesn't really happen anymore. The post Wembley trip to Warrington last year aside, it's been a long time since I've come away from a Wigan game and thought....hmm we stunk there and never looked like winning. Probably the 48-16 loss at Huddersfield in late 2009 was the last time. We are a different kettle of fish now.

Don't get wrong I think this will be a tough cup tie. We will be forced to battle for victory, probably in heavy weather, but we should have far too much class in the end for Featherstone to handle.

19 Man Squad

Wigan
IN:l Lee Mossop, Anthony Gelling
OUT:l Pat Richards, Dom Crosby
Fulll19:l

Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, George Carmont, Brett Finch, Thomas Leuluai, Paul Prescott, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Sean O'Loughlin, Jeff Lima, Liam Farrell, Chris Tuson, Epalahame Lauaki, Gil Dudson, Anthony Gelling, Jack Hughes

Match Referee

Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury) - Age 35
First Pro Game: York 20 Batley 20 - 28th March 1999
First Super League Game: Halifax 30 Salford 18 - 6th May 2001
First Wigan Game: Wakefield 14 Wigan 30 - 1st May 2002

Wigan's Record when this referee is appointed

Wigan have Won 35, Drawn 2 and Lost 15 from 52 appointments.
This Season: Won 1 and Lost 2 from 3 appointments.

Video Referee

Ian Smith (Oldham)

Challenge Cup Head to Head Records

Overall Played 6 Wigan 5 Wins Featherstone 1 Win 0 Draws
At Featherstone Played 3 Wigan 2 Wins Featherstone 1 Win 0 Draws

Full List of Previous Challenge Cup Ties

Date Round Result
1922-1923 Round 2 Featherstone 13 Wigan 14
1946-1947 R1 1st Leg Wigan 24 Featherstone 11
1946-1947 R1 2nd Leg Featherstone 7 Wigan 13 (18-37 Agg)
1951-1952 Quarter Final Featherstone 14 Wigan 11
1955-1956 Round 1 Wigan 24 Featherstone 11
1993-1994 Quarter Final Wigan 32 Featherstone 14

Ticket Details

Stand ConAdultsiors Concessions Juniors
Standing Terrace ?16 ?10 ?5
Seating ?18 ?12 ?6

UK TV Coverage

LIVE COVERAGE Friday 8:00pm
Full Match Replay Late Fri Midnight
Full Match Replay Saturday 6:00am
Full Match Replay Saturday 12noon

International TV Coverage (All Times Local)

Middle East LIVE Friday 11:00pm (UAE) OSN Sports 3 -
Australia Delay Saturday 5:00pm Eurosport HD
New Zealand Delay Saturday 6:00pm Maori Television -

Local Radio Commentary

BBC Radio Manchester (95.1FM) - Full Match Commentary.

102.4 Wish FM - Updates Only during commentary of Oldham v St Helens.

BBC 5 Live Sports Extra (DAB Digital) - Full Match Commentary Nationally on DAB Digital and Freeview Channel 706.

AT VENUE: BBC RADIO LEEDS (92.4FM) - Full Match Commentary.

Weather Forecast

Showers. Cold.