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Leuluai wary of Wigan's 'Magic' touch

By Adam Hipkiss 30/04/2009 11:20:41 AM Comments (0)

World Cup winner Thomas Leuluai has warned his Wigan team-mates to expect a St Helens backlash when the Lancashire rivals clash during Super League's 'Magic Weekend'.

All seven fixtures will be played at Murrayfield, the Edinburgh home ground of the Scotland rugby union team, over the weekend with the Wigan and St Helens' derby match the standout contest.

Super League leaders Saints went down to a stunning 34-30 defeat against strugglers Bradford last time and Leuluai, who has just signed a new three-year deal, said that was the worst possible result for Wigan.

St Helens beat the Warriors 19-12 three weeks ago and Leuluai, who starred in New Zealand's World Cup final win over Australia, said: "Playing Saints is always a tough game but it will be even tougher after what happened to them against Bradford.

"We ran them pretty close not too long ago but this weekend we will need a complete performance and have got to take any chances we create.

"We should have put them away last time but Saints held out and punished us when they got their chances and that shows what a good side they are."

Former Parramatta half-back Tim Smith will keep his place in Wigan's starting line-up after impressive displays in recent weeks and ex-Newcastle Knights centre George Carmont should return after illness.

Former Penrith prop Tony Puletua and centre Matt Gidley are back for Saints after they missed the defeat by Bradford.

Lee Smith is on course to make a return for faltering Leeds for their clash with Catalans Dragons after missing the last five matches with a knee problem.

The Dragons will check on captain Greg Bird's readiness to play after he was convicted in a Sydney court on Tuesday of attacking his girlfriend with a glass and lying to police.

Bird is due to be sentenced on June 22.

New Zealand half-backs Robbie Paul (neck) and Jeremy Smith (knee) are both doubtful for Salford's match with Harlequins.

Quins duo Danny Orr and Daniel Heckenberg sat out the shock win at Leeds last Friday but they are expected to return.

Wakefield have suffered a huge blow before they face Bradford with winger Damian Blanch ruled out for the season with a ruptured cruciate knee ligament.

Bulls second-row David Solomona misses the clash with his former club because of a dislocated shoulder and he joins Paul Deacon, Wayne Godwin and Glenn Morrison on the sidelines.

Huddersfield are still without on-loan Wests player Liam Fulton as they look to get back to winning ways against Celtic Crusaders following heavy losses to Leeds and Huddersfield.

The Welsh outfit have doubts over full-back Tony Duggan and second-row Darren Mapp as they search for their first win.

Castleford youngster Joe Westerman will be given more time to recover from the fits he suffered on the pitch against St Helens rather than face Hull.

Former Australia hooker Shaun Berrigan could return to the Hull side after a knee injury.

The 'Magic Weekend', previously held in Cardiff, aims to showcase rugby league to a British audience beyond its traditional northern England heartland.


Saturday: Salford v Harlequins, Wakefield v Bradford, Wigan v St Helens

Sunday: Huddersfield v Celtic Crusaders, Hull v Castleford, Catalans Dragons v Leeds, Warrington v Hull KR.

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