Kristian Woolf says St Helens ‘buzzing’ ahead of Wigan Warriors derby clash that ‘borders on hatred’

Kristian Woolf, St HelensKristian Woolf, St Helens
Kristian Woolf, St Helens | Getty Images
The two rugby league powerhouses meet on Saturday in a top of the table clash.

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf hit the nail on the head when he described Saturday’s Betfred Super League derby showdown against Wigan Warriors at Newcastle as a vital battle between two traditional heavyweights of the sport.

Lifting the League Leaders’ Shield at the end of the regular season is often a first stepping stone on the road to winning the Old Trafford Grand Final and Saints are currently evens favourites to claim the prestigious trophy for a record-breaking fourth time. Wigan and the Catalans Dragons are both quoted at 7/2, followed by Huddersfield Giants whose odds are 12/1.

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Neither could the current state of play be more intriguing with St Helens in top spot on 28 points - two ahead of the Cherry and Whites, four in front of the French club and five better off than the Giants.

Woolf, who celebrated his 47th birthday on Wednesday, will be hoping to put the icing on the cake against the auld enemy and after taking over the helm at the Totally Wicked Stadium in 2020, he is fully aware what the oldest RL derby means to the players and fans.

"There has been an extra bounce and excitement in the camp this week and the lads are all buzzing and ready to go," said the Aussie.

He added: "I love the competitiveness which exists in games like this and more often than not it brings the best out of all the players.

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"There is great rivalry between the two clubs - almost bordering on hatred - and whoever handles the pressure better will win and hopefully that will be us."

Saints have dominated most of the recent derby clashes but don’t need reminding that they lost the last meeting against the Pie-Eaters 20-18 in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup at Elland Road on May 7.

Last 10 meetings:

St Helens 18, Wigan 20 (CCSF, 7/5/22)

(at Elland Road, Leeds)

St Helens 22, Wigan 4 (SLR8, 15/4/22)

Wigan 2, St Helens 26 (SLR20, 20/8/21)

St Helens 24, Wigan 6 (SLR13, 4/7/21)

St Helens 8, Wigan 4 (SLGF, 27/11/20)

(at KCOM Stadium, Hull)

St Helens 6, Wigan 18 (SLR19, 30/10/20)

Wigan 0, St Helens 42 (SLR14, 29/9/20)

(at AJ Bell Stadium, Salford)

St Helens 40, Wigan 10 (SLQSF, 27/9/19)

St Helens 32, Wigan 10 (SLR22, 12/7/19)

Wigan 10, St Helens 36 (SLR11, 19/4/19)

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