Wigan Name Pongia On Bench

Wigan Warriors will hand a debut to new signing Quentin Pongia in their clash with Castleford Tigers at The JJB Stadium on Friday night, while they also welcome back Paul Johnson from a hamstring injury. Former New Zealand captain Pongia, 32, arrived in Great Britain at the start of the week to start a six-month contract with Wigan.

He had played in France with Villeneuve Leopards, and has just had a short-term stint in the NRL with St George-Illawarra Dragons.

Pongia, who has signed a contract until the end of this year and had his first training session with the Warriors on Tuesday, has been named on the bench for the Warriors' clash with Castleford on Friday.

"There are a lot of young kids coming through and something is starting happening at the club right now," said Pongia. "Hopefully I can pass on my experience just being around.

"I know Craig Smith and Adrian Lam, and Wigan they are renowned for being a good Rugby League side."

Paul Johnson, who has missed the last two matches after injuring his hamstring at St Helens, is fit to return at centre, so Sean O'Loughlin reverts to stand off.

Nick Graham switches back into the pack, with Gareth Hock dropping to the bench.

Wigan Warriors Shaun Briscoe; Brian Carney, Martin Aspinwall, Paul Johnson, David Hodgson; Sean O'Loughlin, Adrian Lam; Craig Smith, Terry Newton, Terry O'Connor, Mick Cassidy, Nick Graham, Andy Farrell Subs: Danny Sculthorpe, Quentin Pongia, Luke Robinson, Gareth Hock.

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