Two sides that endured contrasting fortunes in the Challenge Cup semi-finals meet at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Wigan Warriors host Leigh Leopards in the Betfred Super League.
Wigan lost 11-10 to Hull KR at Headingley in their semi-final, one day after Leigh stunned Super League champions St Helens, running out 12-10 winners at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Leigh are one place and two points better off than Wigan in the Super League table, and Saturday’s encounter promises to be a classic for the Channel 4 cameras ahead of the 1:00 kick-off.
Wigan boss Matty Peet has made three changes to his 21-man squad for Saturday’s clash, naming new signing Tyler Dupree after his move from Salford Red Devils.
Brad Singleton went the other way in the deal, and Dupree joins Ian Thornley and Jacob Douglas, replacing Singleton, Willie Isa and Joe Shorrocks.
Leigh boss Adrian Lam has confirmed Ricky Leutele is out for the rest of the season due a back injury, while hooker Edwin Ipape is suspended.
Leigh Leopards to win @ 9/4
Wigan Warriors have won their previous 12 home meetings with Leigh, with the Leopards’ last success at Wigan coming in the Slalom Lager Championship in 1983.
That record is far from ideal, but Leigh have overcome several obstacles all season long, and they have yet to show any signs of dropping away from their current form.
Leigh have won four games on the spin, while they have only lost one of their previous 14 matches, and that came against league-leaders Catalans Dragons.
Leigh’s dismal away record at Wigan is something their club fans will be desperate to end, and Lam’s team have proven they can handle the big occasion.
Bevan French to score anytime @ 10/11
While we fancy Leigh to come out on top, it is hard to overlook French in the anytime tryscorer market.
French has scored 13 tries for Wigan this season, including two in his last three appearances for the Cherry and Whites in all competitions.
He has also scored the same amount in the same time frame against Leigh, and he is always dangerous in an open game.
Both teams played in the Challenge Cup last weekend, so the short turnaround will open up more opportunities, and French is likely to punish any sloppy Leigh defending.