Rugby

Super League: St Helens 11/5 To Down Wigan

2017-04-13
A preview of round nine of the Super League season.

St Helens are 11/5 to begin life after coach Keiron Cunningham with victory over rivals Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium in round nine of the Super League on Good Friday.

Cunningham's near 24-year association with the club was ended abruptly on Monday when he was axed as head coach after a start to the season which has yielded just three wins.

Saints are 13/4 to win by 12 points or less and 4/1 to be leading the game at half-time, with Wigan forward Joel Tomkins wary of a backlash.

He said: “I was shocked to hear he'd left the club. He's a really good bloke and I'm sure all their players will have a massive amount of respect for him.

"I was thinking about how we would react if we were in that situation and I think it will probably give their players an extra bit of motivation to go out and win it.

"I'm sure they will want to go out on Friday and do a job for Keiron as much as anything."

Cunningham's assistant Jamahl Lolesi has prepared St Helens for the game, along with Sean Long and Under-19s coach Derek Traynor, while the club begin the search for a successor.

Lolesi said: "We can't make wholesale changes, we'll try to make a few subtle changes here and there and come up with a game plan that will maybe give us a shot of winning the game."

Wigan will be buoyed by the return of hooker Michael McIlorum and skipper Sean O'Loughlin but most attention will be on St Helens scrum-half Matty Smith, who will face his old club for the first time since leaving Wigan after October's Grand Final triumph.

Wigan are 2/5 to win the match, 10/17 to score the first points and 9/10 for the first scoring play to be a home try.

Table-topping Castleford, 3/8 to score first and win, are expecting a full house for the derby against Wakefield, who are 17/2 for victory.  

Hull and Salford also anticipate their biggest crowds of the season for the visit of Leeds and Leigh respectively.

Salford, who sit second on the back of their best run for 20 years, are aiming for a fifth straight victory and are 1/7 to do so with the Centurions 5/1 to claim the two points.

Hull (3/4) have the chance to leapfrog Leeds (11/9) into third.