Match Preview – Wigan vs Hull

Hull FC make the trip to Wigan Warriors in Thursday’s Betfred Super League match; watch the action from the DW Stadium live on Sky Sports Arena and Main Event from 7.30pm (8pm kick-off)

Last Updated: 30/03/22 11:22pm

Bevan French is set to make his long-awaited return for Wigan on Thursday

Bevan French is set to make his long-awaited return for Wigan on Thursday

We take a look at what is being said and team news ahead of Thursday’s Betfred Super League match between Wigan Warriors and Hull FC, live on Sky Sports…

French set for long-awaited return

It is over 10 months since Bevan French has been seen in a Wigan shirt, but he is finally set to pull on the Cherry and White hoops again on Thursday after completing his recovery from a long-term hamstring injury.

Warriors head coach Matt Peet confirmed ahead of the clash with Hull FC that the Australian, who was named in the Super League Dream Team in 2020, will play a part in the match – although did not elaborate on where he would play.

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Jai Field has emerged as a star in French’s usual position at full-back, winning his third player of the match award in the 32-22 win over Castleford Tigers in Round 6, but the 26-year-old is versatile enough to play on the wing and in the halves as well.

“Bevan will play,” Peet said. “He’s an exciting and unpredictable player, he’s got talent and he can beat people in small spaces.

“We won’t be expecting too much from Bevan this week, we just want him to be back on the field, enjoying his game and to compete.

“He’s shown glimpses that he’s ready to come back and compete. He’s amongst the lads and he’s showing some good stuff in training, working hard and we all know what he’s capable of.

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Wigan Warriors and Castleford Tigers

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Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Wigan Warriors and Castleford Tigers

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Wigan Warriors and Castleford Tigers

“But this week I’ll just be happy to see him back out there competing hard and playing as part of the team.”

Gale back to make on-field impact

Hull have one of their key men back again too in Luke Gale, with the captain having to sit out the last five games following his red card in the defeat at home to St Helens in the second round of the Super League regular season.

Gale has still been playing an active role for the Black and Whites during his enforced absence though, whether that be leading opposed sessions running the attacking shapes of upcoming opponents or offering advice to Joe Lovodua and Ben McNamara – the duo who have been playing in the halves in his and Josh Reynolds’ absences.

Brett Hodgson is impressed with how much stand-in skipper Josh Griffin has picked up from the 33-year-old too and while the head coach is impressed with the impact Gale has continued to have while not playing, he is pleased he will be back playing.

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“He’s full of bounce, he’s loud, he’s a bit of a joker as well and likes to have a laugh,” Hodgson said. “But we’ve obviously missed him on the field and I’m looking forward to him being out there again.

“We saw the minute he walked in just how much influence he had on everyone around him and that’s contributed in the last month of footy as well.

“Even Josh Griffin, who has taken over the captaincy in the absence of Luke, has grown because he’s learnt some stuff off Luke in how he delivers messages and the right time to speak.

“So, I’ve been really pleased with those two and their leadership – but everyone else has fed off that as well.”

The best of the action from the Betfred Super League clash between Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants

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The best of the action from the Betfred Super League clash between Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants

The best of the action from the Betfred Super League clash between Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants

Team news

French’s return for Wigan comes with Iain Thornley available again after recovering from injury too, while Brad Singleton is back after suspension.

However, Kai Pearce-Paul is facing a long spell out after suffering a ligament injury in the 20-0 win over Salford Red Devils in the Betfred Challenge Cup sixth round last Friday.

Along with Gale being back from suspension, Hull – 14-6 winners over Huddersfield Giants last time out in Super League – have Kane Evans available again following a ban, while Darnell McIntosh comes back into the 21-man squad after recovering from a calf injury.

Named squads

Wigan Warriors: Bevan French, Jake Bibby, Zak Hardaker, Iain Thornley, Liam Marshall, Cade Cust, Brad Singleton, Sam Powell, Patrick Mago, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, John Bateman, Morgan Smithies, Harry Smith, Oliver Partington, Ethan Havard, Liam Byrne, Joe Shorrocks, Jai Field, Abbas Miski.

Hull FC: Jake Connor, Adam Swift, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Darnell McIntosh, Luke Gale, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Manu Ma’u, Jordan Lane, Joe Lovodua, Kane Evans, Brad Fash, Ben McNamara, Jack Brown, Jordan Johnstone, Josh Bowden, Connor Wynne, Mitieli Vulikijapani.


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