Defence is the key says Warriors coach Wane

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane
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Shaun Wane has pinpointed the key area which he believes sway the Challenge Cup final in Wigan Warriors’ favour against Hull FC on Saturday.

He has picked out one-on-one defence as being crucial to their chances.

Wigan have certainly proved their mettle in that area in their last two games, limiting Huddersfield and Salford to a try each – and both of those from kicks.

And coach Wane says it will need another watertight effort if they are to put the shackles on a Hull outfit which has beaten them twice already this season.

He has scrutinised video of those two matches and found a trend in the defeats.

He said: “The one-on-one D is crucial. In the games we’ve played them, not a lot of structure has beaten us.

“It hasn’t really been the set-plays which have burned us. If you look at the last 10 tries they’ve scored against us, it’s been individual misses on our part which has proved costly.

“So we need to make sure we nail that area. They’re a very big team, across the line-up, and so we need to makes sure our one-on-one D is bang on.

“Hull are up there in the table for a reason, they’re hard to stop – no question.

“They have some big athletes. But we’ve shown we can defend, we can put teams under pressure, and it’ll be full on this Saturday.

“When they’re flying, they’re hard to stop.

“But if we turn up, and play at our best, we will challenge them.”

After a disappointing campaign by their own standards, Wigan have only lost two of their last 10 matches since Sam Tomkins and John Bateman returned to the side.

They have reached Wembley with victories over Salford, Warrington and Swinton, and are just a point off a top-four spot with four Super League games to go.

Wigan last won the cup in 2013, which extended the club’s record in the famous knock-out competition to 19 final victories.

“The game was slaughtered but I wasn’t bothered – we got the cup,” said Wane.

“I love this competition. The make-up of the week, the travel – it makes it special for the players.

“The history we have as a club is special, we played in the first final at Wembley, we’ve won the cup more than anyone else and these players have got a chance to make their own history this weekend.

“To get to go out and play at Wembley, our national stadium, is something I really enjoy.”