Wigan coach Shaun Wane says his team will be out to avenge their Challenge Cup defeat after choosing to play reigning Super League champions Leeds in Friday’s semi-final at the DW Stadium.
The Warriors had the right to pick their opponents under the controversial Clubcall rule and opted to avoid Challenge Cup winners Warrington, the only other choice open to them, when they announced their decision today.
The double-chasing Wolves, therefore, will play St Helens in the second semi-final at Langtree Park on Saturday.
Table-toppers Wigan have done the league double over the Rhinos this year but suffered a surprise 39-28 Cup semi-final defeat by Brian McDermott’s men.
“We decided a few weeks ago that, if we were in a position to make the call, we’d go with the lowest-rank team,” said Wane, who made the decision in consultation with chairman Ian Lenagan and rugby manager Kris Radlinski.
“We did have discussions about going elsewhere but we decided to stick to our guns.
“But, make no mistake, we know it’s going to be a tough game. At this stage, it would be tough whoever you pick.
“We’re still hurting from that performance in the cup. It was not so much the loss but we under-performed that day.
“It wasn’t us. Sam (Tomkins) has not done things that he did that day, we’ve not played as poorly since then.
“I’ve been upset ever since. It is a game I’m desperate to put right.”
Leeds coach McDermott believes his side’s impressive 27-20 win over Catalan Dragons in Perpignan last Friday will have given Wigan something to consider before making their decision.
“It was no surprise but I don’t think it was as straightforward as everybody is trying to make out,” he said.
“I think they would have had to carefully consider the strengths and weaknesses of Warrington and Leeds.”