St Helens boss Paul Wellens insists rugby league needs the best players in the biggest games as he gets ready to take his side to Wigan on Easter weekend.
Wigan and Saints have key players missing for the clash, including Jai Field who limped of with a hamstring injury in Warriors’ crushing defeat of Leigh. Alex Walmsley suffered the same injury in the opening minutes of Saints’ comfortable win over Wakefield.
Field will be out for around 10 weeks although Wigan were relieved after fearing it could have been worse, while Walmsley is out of action for around four weeks meaning both teams will be without key figures for the weekend’s derby clash.
Wellens said: “What these fixtures deserve really is the best against the best.
“It’s a huge occasion and would be even better if both those guys were on the field being the players that they are.
“There is a lot of quality still out there but it’s disappointing that both those guys are not able to play because they add a great deal to both teams.
“Al (Walmsley) is a hamstring so he’s probably going to miss out on four weeks.
“It is unlikely he will play until after the international break and that is unfortunate, with Warriors and Field as well.”
Matt Peet revealed the extent of Field’s injury and said it could have been much worse than they originally thought after the game on Thursday.
Wigan will also be without Cade Cust who missed Thursday’s game due to a due to a bulging disc in his neck and Willie Isa received a one-match penalty notice for a Grade B dangerous contact which will see him miss out.
Peet said: “Jai is out for around eight to 10 weeks and we keep checking on Custy (Cade Cust) every couple of weeks.
“It’ll be a challenge for us but one we look forward to.
“Particularly Jai Field, although eight to 10 weeks sounds like a kick for us, immediately you thought he did the same as last time so the fact he doesn’t need an operation is a bonus.
“We’re all relieved because it’d be a big difference if it was four months, you’d be looking at the back end of the season.”