Wane: Wigan down to the “bare bones” for Leeds clash

Wigan coach Shaun Wane doesn’t expect any of his injured first-team players to return in time to face Leeds Rhinos at Magic Weekend.

The reigning double champions are without England internationals Liam Farrell and Josh Charnley, Wales prop Ben Flower, full-back Matty Bowen, back-rower Tony Clubb and USA international Eddy Pettybourne.

Centre Iain Thornley is out for the season, too, while three fringe players who would be expected to fill in for these injured first-teamers – Ryan Hampshire, Greg Burke and Ryan Sutton – are also out of the picture. Captain Sean O’Loughlin is a big doubt but refused to rule himself out completely.

With Logan Tomkins and Sam Hopkins out on loan, Wane’s men are stretched to say the least. The coach is even considering playing Michael McIlorum, his first-choice hooker, at loose forward, with youngster Sam Powell set to fill in at nine.

“Sam’s a body and a tough player, I may put him in and shift Micky Mac to loose forward, that’s one option,” said Wane.

“We’re absolutely down to the bare bones. But I’m not stressed – I want us to win and genuinely think we’ll be competitive.”

The two sides met last on May 2, with the Rhinos running out 28-12 winners. This raft of Wigan injuries makes Leeds heavy favourites to make it two in two when they go toe-to-toe again on Saturday (7.15pm kick-off).

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