Wigan coach Shaun Wane says criticism of his team’s recent Super League win over Castleford provided them with extra motivation for their Challenge Cup victory over the Yorkshiremen.
Wane does not believe the Warriors received enough credit for their 33-26 triumph at the Jungle a month ago, which was overshadowed by Castleford coach Daryl Powell’s hard-hitting comments about referee Ben Thaler.
The Wigan coach was also angered by Powell’s decision not to include Luke Gale in his initial 19-man squad for Saturday’s tie, with the scrum-half playing after passing a fitness test on Friday.
“The last time we played Cas at Cas we were accused of being lucky winners and the referee won the game,” said Wane.
“We were disappointed with some of the comments. Sometimes you hold your hands up and say ‘well done’ to the winning team.
“Our players were very, very motivated.
“They named a 19-man squad without Luke Gale and they made a change, which is illegal.
“So there were a few things that went on that were poor which motivated our players. We went into that game hell bent on winning it and you could tell with that first 40 minutes.”
Wigan never looked back after Dan Sarginson and Sam Tomkins scored tries inside the first 13 minutes and winger Josh Charnley added two more before half-time, when they led 22-0.
“I was very happy with the first half,” continued Wane. “We had 100 per cent completion, it was by far our best 40 minutes of the season. Sam Tomkins was great, even when he didn’t have the ball.”
Castleford rallied in the second half and scored tries through Gale and Ben Crooks, with Dom Manfredi adding a fifth for Wigan, but coach Powell admitted: “We didn’t start great. They shifted the ball to our left and found some space. It was a really disappointing first half. To be 22-0 down is a tough ask. We certainly didn’t handle their physical challenge and defensively we let ourselves down at times.”
Powell was forced to make a late change when centre Jake Webster pulled out after the warm-up with a hamstring injury leaving Greg Minikin to make his first appearance for two months.
Wigan Warriors: S Tomkins; Charnley, Sarginson, Gildart, Manfredi; Williams, Smith; Mossop, Powell, Flower, Sutton, Isa, O’Loughlin. Substitutes: J Tomkins, Tautai, Burke, Bretherton.
Castleford Tigers: Dorn; Monaghan, Crooks, Minikin, Solomona; Millington, Gale; Jewitt, McShane, Patrick, Moors, McMeeken, Massey. Substitutes: Milner, Tickle, Holmes, Cook.
Referee: C Campbell (RFL).