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Saints host Wigan in what should be one of the most entertaining and physical games seen in 2019. In what could be the Grand Final curtain-raiser, this semi-final is likely to have everything.
Saints haven’t played a game since their 22-6 victory over Hull FC two weeks ago. Whether that could be a blessing in disguise remains to be seen – they could be fresh or they could be lacking the physicality in the opening exchanges. Wigan, meanwhile, are coming into this fixture on the back of a hard-fought 18-12 triumph over surprise package Salford.
That game will have stood Wigan in good stead for their hardest game this year, but this is a St Helens side that has lost just four games all year and not one at home – if that isn’t a daunting task for Wigan then nothing is.
But this is a Wigan side that is fazed by little. Led by youngsters Morgan Smithies – who made a record 72 tackles in that victory over Salford – and Liam Byrne, the Warriors have lost just once in 14 games and will be full of confidence heading into this crunch clash.
Aaron Smith makes Justin Holbrook’s 19-match squad with Matty Costello dropping out. Meanwhile, Oliver Partington comes back in for Wigan after serving his one-match suspension in place of Dan Sarginson.
Wigan might have been playing incredibly well recently, but their only loss in 14 games came at St Helens. History may well repeat itself again as Saints look to take their shot at the Grand Final at the first time of asking.