Category: Rugby

Shaun Wane | “I thought they had a real good dig”

Wigan Warriors Head Coach was complimentary of Salford despite his side coming out 0-30 victors saying the Red Devils had a ‘real dig’.
Wane said: “I thought they had a real good dig and they made it tough at times but I thought we looked in control when they attacked in the few sets they had.
“We looked in control and knew what we were doing.”
Jake Shorrocks featured for Salford against his parent Club while Logan Tomkins returned to the DW Stadium to face his former side.
Wane said: “It will have been different for him [Jake] he was in a well-beaten team unfortunately, but it’ll do him good getting a full eighty minutes.
“I was impressed with Logan [Tomkins] he did it tough and stuck in there. I was quite impressed with what they did.
“They’re a good team and have some good systems. They had some middles not playing and [Rob] Lui is a massive player for them like Lockers [Sean O’Loughlin] is for us.
“They’ll be strong, they’ll be okay.”

Ian Watson | “That’s the level we’ve got to get used to playing at”

Head Coach Ian Watson remained upbeat despite a 0-30 defeat at Wigan and was pleased with the resiliency shown following large periods of defence at the DW Stadium.
Watson said: “In the second half we defended 28 sets and we only had ball in hand for 11.
“Wigan were really good and showed a patient mentality by getting a lot of repeat sets which meant we had to defend a lot and that’s what winning teams do.
“That’s something we can learn from Wigan. We need to learn to be better with the ball, we turned over too much ball with our errors, but these came on the back of a lot of defending.
“I thought our defensive systems were a lot better which I know is a bit weird when you concede that many points, but they were a lot better tonight. Especially in the first 25 minutes where the game was a real arm-wrestle.
“Wigan are used to being at that intense level and that’s what we’re trying to educate some of our younger guys to be at that level, so they can consistently grind out in games.
“That’s the level we’ve got to get used to playing at.”
You can watch the full post-match press conference here:

Three Talking Points | Wigan Warriors 30-0 Salford Red Devils

In this week’s ‘Three talking points’ we focus on three 2018 additions who all stood out despite defeat at Wigan Warriors.
Gavin Bennion
The first Salford Red Devils debutant was Gavin Bennion who has been on loan with Swinton for the early part of the 2018 season however the forward was brought into the side for last night’s trip to Wigan.
Bennion was named in the front-row and started the game really well with Head Coach Ian Watson praising his first stint of the field in his post-match press conference. The 24-year-old was a prominent figure in defence throughout the game.
The forward could be looking to cement a spot in the first team in the near future.
Levy Nzoungou 
The other debutant for the Salford was youngster Levy Nzoungou was featured for Whitehaven, Oldham and Swinton before making his first Betfred Super League appearance last night.
Nzoungou came on from the bench for the Red Devils and made an impact taking the ball to the Warriors defence. The Frenchman was taking three and sometimes four Wigan defenders with him and managed to get some quick play-the-balls.
The 20-year-old now offers Ian Watson yet another option in the pack and we could certainly see Nzoungou feature again in the coming weeks.
Derrell Olpherts
He was chosen as the ‘Player in Focus’ in this week’s ‘Stat Pack’ after making a successful move to fullback in the absence of Niall Evalds.
Olpherts now has four Betfred Super League appearances to his name and adjusted to the role of fullback extremely well. He was confident under the high ball, worked hard with ball in hand and made a couple of key tackles for Salford.
Head Coach Ian Watson has a versatile back in Olpherts who has already slotted in at fullback, winger and centre in 2018.

Stat Pack | Wigan Warriors 30-0 Salford Red Devils

It was a tough evening for the Red Devils at the DW Stadium but there were still some interesting stats behind the result and we take a look in this week’s ‘Stat Pack’.
Derrell Olpherts
He was one of the three players mentioned in this week’s three talking points, but fullback Derrell Olpherts is also this week’s ‘Player in Focus’.
Olpherts had to step into the fullback role in place of an unavailable Niall Evalds and put together some impressive stats at the DW Stadium.
The former Newcastle Thunder man amounted 19 carries – more than any other Red Devil on the evening. While a percentage of these were in kick returns, Olpherts also brought the ball out from his own line with the rest of the backs on numerous occasions.
Olpherts made 180 metres from his 19 carries making him the sides biggest metre-maker on the evening also averaging 9.5 metres per carry. The fullback made nine tackles including bringing down Tom Davies in the late stages of the game.
The 26-year-old was also confident fielding kicks with six kick collections from a possible six.
Defensive shifts
With Logan Tomkins the only hooker in the Salford side last night, the former Wigan Warriors man had to play for almost a full 80 minutes before leaving for a concussion assessment in the closing stages.
Tomkins racked up a mammoth 51 tackles which was 15 more than any other Red Devil on the field. As always, Tomkins also had the most passes for Salford with 92.
Tyrone McCarthy – who is consistently one of the highest tacklers – made 36 and was equal with youngster Daniel Murray who put in another fantastic Betfred Super League performance.
Weller Hauraki and Craig Kopczak also made 30 tackles apiece.
Overall stats
Head Coach Ian Watson eluded to his sides lack of possession and amount of defence being a major factor in last night’s game against Wigan and that can be seen in the post-match stats.
Wigan had 15 more sets than Salford throughout the 80 minutes completing 37 of their 47. The Red Devils completed 23 of their 29. This was also mirrored in the amount of play-the-balls with the Warriors having 154 compared to Salford’s 118. Salford spent 11 minutes less in possession than the hosts.
The penalty count was relatively even with Salford conceding seven to Wigan’s eight. The error count was also similar with Wigan totalling six errors to Salford’s eight.

Match Report | Wigan Warriors 30-0 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils fell to a second successive Betfred Super League defeat as Wigan Warriors ran out comfortable 30-0 winners on a frustrating evening at the DW Stadium.
Sam Tomkins’ brace alongside further scores from Oliver Gildart, Tony Clubb, George Williams and John Bateman ensured the Warriors moved to within two points of league leaders St Helens.
The Red Devils were fortunate not to have conceded just four minutes into the contest as George Williams broke clear before flicking inside to the onrushing Liam Marshall, however the latter couldn’t keep hold of the ball after some good pressure from stand-in full-back Derrell Olpherts.
Olpherts was involved again minutes later after teaming up with Jake Bibby and Kris Welham to force Willie Isa into touch just when a try looked certain.
Despite making a strong start to the contest, Salford’s efforts were undone midway through the half as former Red Devil Oliver Gildart cut inside before racing clear under the sticks to touch down.
Sam Tomkins converted the resulting goal and the Warriors were in again moments later as Marshall capitalised on an error from Bibby before finding Tony Clubb who powered over the line from close-range, despite the best efforts of two Salford defenders.
Shaun Wane’s men were in a ruthless mood and found themselves over for a third occasion in the 31st minute as Williams jinked his way through the Salford line to cross over before Tomkins added his third goal.
The Wigan full-back then attempted to land a drop-goal from the 30m mark but Olpherts comfortably collected as the ball fell short of the sticks seconds before the half-time hooter.
After the break the hosts flew out of the blocks and thought they’d scored as Sam Powell darted over the line, but referee Chris Kendall came to Salford’s aid after ruling the try out.
Wigan weren’t to be denied for long however, the lively Tomkins picked up a short ball from Tommy Leuluai before forging his way under several Red Devil counterparts to cross over.
Salford regrouped and almost found their way over as Daniel Murray pierced his way through the Warriors line, but the forward knocked on after an explosive tackle from an opposition defender.
Things soon worsened for Ian Watson’s side when Tomkins wormed his way over to grab his second try in what was a carbon copy of his first effort.
The Warriors weren’t done there however, John Bateman produced a sublime dummy to deceive the Salford line before diving over with ease to complete the victory.
Wigan Lineup: S.Tomkins, Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall, Williams, Powell, Navarette, Leuluai, Flower, Isa, Bateman, J.Tomkins.
Interchanges: Clubb, Sutton, Tautai, Escare.
Salford Lineup: Olpherts, Johnson, Sa’u, Welham, Bibby, Shorrocks, Littlejohn, Kopczak, L.Tomkins, Bennion, Hauraki, Lannon, Murray.
Interchanges: Tasi, Burgess, McCarthy, Nzoungou.
Wigan Scorers: Tries- Gildart (22’), Clubb (25’), Williams (31’), S.Tomkins (58’, 67’), Bateman (75’) | Goals- S.Tomkins (22’, 25’, 31’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- N/A | Goals- N/A
Man of the Match: Kris Welham
Referee: Chris Kendall. Touch Judges: Anthony Martin & Gareth Jones. In-Goal Judges: Curley Etchells & Jack Pulletin.
Attendance: 10,733

Away Day Guide | Wigan Warriors vs Salford Red Devils | Friday 4th May

Tonight the Salford Red Devils travel to Wigan Warriors and there is still time to purchase your tickets from the AJ Bell Stadium. Below is all the key information ahead of tonight’s Betfred Super League fixture.
Key information
Tickets will read Sunday 6th May 2018 however due to a late rescheduling but all tickets will be valid for tonight’s game – Friday 4th May 2018. The game will kick-off at 8pm.
The Salford Red Devils supporters will be situated in the North Stand which is behind the goals.
Salford fans can purchase tickets from the ticket office beside the North Stand at the DW Stadium but are encouraged to purchase before 4pm on Friday 4th May from the AJ Bell Stadium or over the phone on 0161 786 1570 as Salford Red Devils will retain 25% of this purchase.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Adults: £22
Concession (60+ and full-time students): £16
Juniors: £10
Carers: Free
Junior Season Ticket Holders: Junior Swaps available at the AJ Bell Stadium Club Ticket Office.
Salford Red Devils Supporters’ Bus
Any Salford Red Devils fans travelling on the Club’s Supporters’ Coach to tonight’s game are reminded to arrive at their pick-up point with plenty of time.
The pick-up points and times are below:
Chandos Social Club: 5:30pm
Royal Sovereign: 5:40pm
Eccles Town Hall: 5:55pm
Dog & Partridge: 6:05pm
AJ Bell Stadium: 6:20pm
There are still limited spaces available on the Supporters’ Coach for tonight so if you’d like to book a place please visit the Club Ticket Office or phone 0161 786 1570. A place on the Supporters’ Coach is priced at £11 for all classes.
Directions – By Car
From the North
Exit the M6 and Junction 27 and turn left at the end of the slip road. Turn right at T-Junction, sign-posted Shevington. After 1 mile turn left into Old Lane (B5375 Standish Lower Ground). Approximately 2 miles later at the traffic lights turn right into Scot Lane. Take the first left turn into Stadium Way.
From the South and West
Exit the M6 at Junction 25. At the end of the slip road after approximately 1 mile turn left (Wigan A49). Follow signs for Wigan A49 for 1.8 miles to saddle roundabout. Take the second exit sign-posted Standish A49 into Robin Park Road. Follow signs for DW Stadium.
From the East
Exit M61 at Junction 6 (Chorley, Horwich A6027) and take the first exit at roundabout. At next roundabout take first left (Sign-posted Westhoughton A6, Wigan B5238) into Chorley Road. After 0.3 miles turn right (Wigan B5238), after 1.8 miles turn left at Aspull roundabout (Wigan B5238), after 2.2 miles just after Earl of Barcarres pub, turn right at traffic lights.
Proceed down the hill turning left at the next lights with Quality Hotel on the corner. Follow ring road and get into the second lane from right as road bears right into Caroline Street, sign-posted Orrell. Continue on ring road following road as it bears left passing the ‘Go Outdoors’ shop on the left-hand side again sign-posted Orrell. Pass Wigan Pier on the right and under the railway bridge, get into the right-hand lane and turn right into Robin Park. Follow signs for DW Stadium.
The DW Stadium has around 2000 car parking spaces located around the Stadium. Supporters can pay on the gate on Car Park 1 (on Stadium Way) while pay and display is in operation on Car Park 5 (DW Sports Fitness Club).
The parking charges are: Cars/Motorcycles: £5. Minibuses: £10. Coaches: £20.
By Train
The DW Stadium is a 20-minute walk from both the Wigan Wallgate and Wigan North Western train stations.
From Wigan Wallgate take the main exit and turn right. From Wigan North Western exit onto the road, cross over and turn left.
Walk under the railway bridge and after approx. 5mins you will reach No. 1 Wigan Pier (Domino’s is on your left); keep right where the one-way road system forks and pass National Tyres on your right and Wigan Pier on your left, walking straight ahead.
After another 5mins and immediately after Seven Stars Motors turn right. Proceed to the end of this road and join the canal towpath underneath the railway bridge.
Continue along the towpath for another 5mins, with the service yard of B&Q on your left, until you reach the black and white canal footbridge; you will then see the DW Stadium on your left. After the footbridge take the next service road on your left signposted “Emergency Vehicles Only” and follow this road over the bridge.
The bridge delivers you to the South East corner of the DW Stadium.
The Salford Red Devils will be donning their blue alternative kit tonight at the DW Stadium while Wigan will be in their principal cherry and white strip.

Kingsland Drinks Try of the Month | April 2018 – Jake Bibby

Salford Red Devils winger Jake Bibby was the winner of April’s Kingsland Drinks ‘Try of the Month’ competition after he finished a superb off-the-cuff team try at Huddersfield.
The try began with Weller Hauraki and Rob Lui linking up to find Lama Tasi however, Tasi wasn’t taking the tackle offloading back to Lui.
The halfback found Ben Nakubuwai, who similarly wasn’t happy going to ground and gave the ball to Mark Flanagan who pulled off a lovely one-handed catch.
Hauraki eventually found himself back in possession and threw a sublime inside dummy to Kris Welham before a ‘out of the back door’ offload to Bibby out wide who finished in style.
But, why just read about the try when you can watch it here:

Preview | Wigan Warriors vs Salford Red Devils | Friday 4th May

Salford Red Devils travel to Wigan Warriors looking to make it back-to-back away victories for the first time in 2018.  
The Red Devils suffered defeat last weekend to St Helens but still remain inside the top eight while the Warriors sit in 2nd place two points behind the Betfred Super League leaders Saints.
Salford Red Devils come into the game looking to bounce back following a heavy defeat against current Betfred Super League leaders St Helens last weekend at the AJ Bell Stadium.
However, the Red Devils had hit a good spell prior to the last Friday’s defeat with back-to-back wins over Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity. The away win against Huddersfield was the team’s first since May of 2017 and they will be looking to earn consecutive wins on the road for the first time this season at the DW Stadium.
Wigan have been in fine form lately losing just one of their last nine games; a Good Friday defeat to local rivals St Helens. The Warriors have overcome the likes of Hull Kingston Rovers, Catalans Dragons, Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers and Widnes Vikings since losing to the league leaders at the end of March.
In this week’s head-to-head we pit two centres against each other in experienced Salford veteran Kris Welham and young Wigan star Oliver Gildart.
Welham has been one of Salford’s ever-present players this season and has continued to impress after a great debut season in 2017. The centre scored in the meeting between the sides earlier in the season and has crossed for four tries this season.
Gildart – who has spent time on loan at Salford before – has been one of the standout performers for Wigan again this season already scoring eight tries including a brace against the Red Devils.
The meeting earlier in the season saw Wigan cause issues down the left-hand flank and it will be interesting to see which centre comes out on top this weekend as it could have a big influence on the final result.
Team News
Levy Nzoungou and Gavin Bennion are set to make their debuts for the Salford Red Devils at the DW Stadium on Friday evening.
Young forward Daniel Murray also returns to the squad after sealing a new two-year deal at the AJ Bell Stadium. Lee Mossop, Mark Flanagan and Josh Jones are absent.
Robert Lui is still recovering from a minor injury he picked up in the win over Wakefield while Manu Vatuvei and Kriss Brining are long-term injuries with the latter undergoing surgery earlier this week. Niall Evalds also misses out due to failing a concussion assessment last weekend against St Helens.
Jake Shorrocks could feature against his parent club while Ben Nakubuwai also returns to the 19-man squad.
Joe Burgess is the big absentee for Wigan after he picked up a season-ending injury earlier in the week. Liam Farrell also misses out with an ankle injury.
However, John Bateman returns after recovering from an illness while Ben Flower and Sam Tomkins – who missed out against Widnes last week – both return to the squad.
Wigan: Bateman, Clubb, Davies, Escare, Flower, Gildart, Hamlin, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Navarrete, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sarginson, Sutton, Tautai, J. Tomkins, S. Tomkins, Williams.
Salford: Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Littlejohn, Kopczak, L. Tomkins, Hauraki, Tasi, Lannon, Burgess, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Wood, Olpherts, Bibby, Nzoungou, Murray, Bennion, Shorrocks.
Referee: C. Kendall.
Touch Judges: A. Martin & G. Jones.

Ian Watson | “All the boys know we are much better than that”

To many of us, as supporters, it would probably appear to be a cruel twist in the fixture arrangements for us to be turning out against the likes of St Helens and Wigan, in consecutive weeks, and particularly so, on this occasion after having had such a challenging encounter, last Thursday, in the first of these.
Not so, however, Head Coach, Ian Watson. He is most gratified with the way the fixture list has unfolded in this respect, as he explains.
Watson said: “I think this is a good one for us after the way the St Helens game went. It’s going to be all about our performance now, on the back of last week, with the opportunity to right a few wrongs, because we felt, as a team, that we fell short of the standards that we have set ourselves. All the boys know that we are much better than that.”
The slightly longer than usual week of Thursday to Friday has consequently been of benefit to them all in getting to grips with this.
“We have really stripped things down to the basics, as much for personnel issues as anything else, and focused on the fundamentals. St Helens, last week. just ran a lot harder than we did, fought hard to play the ball quickly, and the speed of the game then became too quick for us.
“We had spoken about controlling this in order to prevent it happening, which we have been very good at doing in most games, but for the first time this season their pack managed to get the better of ours. Our pack has been outstanding all year, but we are going to be up against a big physical side again this week, which is going to be a good game to have after last week.”
There can be no gainsaying the quality of St Helens, however, who shrugged off the sending off of Matty Lees, to produce try-scoring opportunities throughout the whole game, regardless of their numerical inferiority.
“Saints are a great team this season and have played with consistency throughout the year. They use their speed and quality of execution to play on your edges, where you’ve got the spaces, but that was down to us just losing the speed of the game, and, in particular, the speed of the ruck. Once you lose that, it does not matter whether they have twelve men or thirteen, you are going to be on the back foot and getting caught out wide.”
It is most remarkable how the team went from a great performance against Wakefield, to the one we experienced against St Helens, which shows just how far the pendulum can swing in one week only. It now just has swing back, as quickly.
“It will all be down to performance, and our attitude in the approach to this game. If that is right the result will take care of itself.
“We have a very small squad, and at the moment we have around only nineteen to twenty fully fit players from whom to select.
“It is our job, as coaches, though, to work with the squad we’ve got to ensure that we qualify for the Super 8s, at the end of the season. Wigan away, on Friday night, is the perfect opportunity to put things right and put our reputation back out there for people to see.”

Factfile | Wigan Warriors vs Salford Red Devils | Friday 4th May

Ahead of tomorrow’s Betfred Super League game against Wigan Warriors we take a look at all the facts and stats as Salford look to make it back-to-back away victories.
Previous Meetings
The Red Devils last victory over the Warriors ended a 20-year wait for an away win against Wigan as Ian Watson’s men earned a 16-31 victory at the DW Stadium. Niall Evalds grabbed a brace alongside scores from Kris Welham, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Greg Johnson to give Salford a memorable victory. Read more about it here.
Salford’s most recent away victory prior to last season came August 17th 1997 as the Red Devils earned a 21-4 win. This was the last of a three-game winning streak against the Warriors with Salford. The Red Devils can only claim two separate wins against the Warriors since 2006.
Wigan have won their last three outings against Salford with a Ladbrokes Challenge semi-final, a Super 8s and a 2018 opening weekend win included in that run.
Overall in the Betfred Super League, Wigan have won 37 of the meetings between the two sides, the Red Devils have won six and there is yet to be a draw between the two teams.
As seems to be a regular feature this season fullback Niall Evalds is the Red Devils most prolific scorer against Wigan in recent meetings. The England Knights squad member has crossed for four tries in last four appearances against Wigan however won’t be available for this Friday’s visit to the DW Stadium.
Kris Welham has also scored twice against Wigan since joining Salford.
Oliver Gildart – who spent time on loan with Salford in 2015 – has scored six tries in the last five meetings between the teams. Gildart has crossed for braces in the most recent match, last year’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final and the opening game of the 2017 Betfred Super League season.
Joe Burgess and Liam Marshall have also scored doubles in recent meetings with the Red Devils.
2018 stats
Winger Jake Bibby is currently Salford’s leading try-scorer for the 2018 Betfred Super League season with seven tries. Marshall is currently leading the way for Wigan with nine tries closely followed by fellow backs Gildart and Burgess.
Former Wigan Warrior Logan Tomkins has amounted the most tackles for Salford so far this season with 386 which is one more than current leader for the Warriors Willie Isa who sits on 385.
Bibby also has the highest number of clean breaks so far this season for Salford totalling 15 two more than Wigan’s frontrunner Burgess who has 13.
Overall, Salford are the 6th most prolific try-scorers in the Betfred Super League this year with 39 tries while Wigan sit 2nd with 62.
Tickets can still be purchased from the AJ Bell Stadium Club Ticket Office up until 4pm on Friday 4th May. Purchase from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570 and the Club retain 25% of your purchase. You can also book a place on the Supporters’ Coach at the Club Ticket Office or over the phone.