Wigan Warriors boss provides latest on Bevan French return

Wigan Warriors fullback Bevan French will not be playing in this Friday’s Challenge Cup sixth-round tie against Salford Red Devils.

French spent time back home in Australia through the off-season on compassionate leave and only returned to the UK last month.

At the time, Wigan head coach Matt Peet said he hoped French might come back into contention as soon as the Challenge Cup, which Wigan enter along with the other participating Super League sides this week.

However, Peet says now that he is still not quite ready, even if he is in full training with the rest of the team again.

And it is the same for centre Iain Thornley, who has been out since the opening round of the season with an ankle injury.

“He’s not quite ready, not this week, and it’s the same with Iain,” said Peet.

“They’re close, closer than they were last week. They’re training hard. They’ve both got back on the field. Bevan trained with the team today but it won’t be this week.”

There will be one returnee though with Jake Bibby coming back in after missing last week’s Super League victory over Castleford Tigers through illness.

“Jake Bibby will come back in, he’s the only one. He will come in for Sam (Halsall),” Peet confirmed.

Peet intends to field his strongest team for the visit of Salford, and underlined ahead of his first Challenge Cup match as head coach the high regard in which he holds the competition.

He said: “It’s enormous (for us). It is an expectation that we perform well in all competitions. As soon as we play a sudden-death game, we get excited.

“We know it means a lot to the town and the fans of the club, and to take them on any sort of journey at the moment and get them excited, that’s what motivates us.

“So it’s important that our focus is massively on a tough challenge on Friday evening.”