Wane to test stars in Dragons' den
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane will go against his instincts by fielding his strongest team against Catalan Dragons in Saturday's Super League game in Perpignan.
Wane admits he would have liked to have rested several players a week before the Tetley's Challenge Cup final against Hull FC but his key men need game time after missing last Friday's home defeat to Huddersfield Giants through injury.
Skipper Sean O'Loughlin remains a doubt for the trip to France but full-back Sam Tomkins, scrum-half Matty Smith and prop Ben Flower will all return after sitting out the 30-12 loss to the Giants.
"In an ideal world, I would have liked to have put my form team out against Huddersfield but genuine injuries to Sam, Lockers, Ben and Matty Smith dictated that I couldn't do that," Wane told a press conference at Orrell.
"They are fit now and they need a game so they will be playing this weekend against Catalan."
Wane, who says O'Loughlin has a 50-50 chance of overcoming a knee injury to face the Catalans, will use Saturday's game to finalise his Wembley line-up, with players like Flower given a chance to press their claims.
"The main doubt is Sean O'Loughlin but, apart from him, we're pretty much injury free," Wane added.
"Everybody has a chance to play and all the front rowers are fighting like hell between themselves to give them a chance to play at Wembley.
"It's good position for me and I want to give people like Ben Flower a chance this week - he can put his hand up to play at Wembley.
"This is part of our preparation and so was Huddersfield. Some players took their opportunity and some didn't."