Rugby League: Hughes has a score to settle

Eric Hughes will keep the personal separate from the professional, unless, and until, his new team beat his old team at Central Park this afternoon. Hughes, sacked as coach by St Helens and now entrusted by Wigan with restoring their supremacy over their old rivals, admits that victory today would be deeply satisfying.

He said: "I would dearly love to beat Saints. I would be the happiest man in the league. I would stick two fingers up at two or three people."

Outside the sphere of personal vindication, Hughes can see the broader significance of today's derby. If Wigan, having struggled in their opening fixtures against Halifax and Castleford, can sneak a win over Saints then, when the team strengthening (that began with yesterday's signing of Tony Smith) is complete, they will once more look like potential Super League champions.

Their early games have demonstrated the spirit is willing, and Saints' coach, Shaun McRae, is one who believes that Wigan must start favourites.

He said: "We have not beaten Wigan at Central Park for eight years and they have not lost a league game there to anyone for three years. We are more topical, through being in the public eye, and we are confident going into the game - but I can't see how we are the favourites."

Hughes admits to still feeling a connection when he sees a Saints side that was largely his creation reaching the heights he always expected for it.

Virtually all today's St Helens side were either signed or groomed by him and the last signing he made for the club has a key role to play, with 18-year-old Lee Briers continuing to deputise for the suspended Bobbie Goulding.

McRae, for his part, has always been careful to give due credit for Hughes for the talent he assembled at the club and his role in nurturing it.

There is another area of disagreement between the two, however. McRae, Australian-born, threw his hat into the ring this week for the Great Britain coaching job, should it become vacant when Phil Larder's contract expires in June.

Hughes begs to differ with his successor at Knowsley Road. He said: "I'm a proud Brit and I'm conservative on this subject. I believe that the Great Britain team should be made up of British players, coached by a Briton."

We will never know whether a Briton would have been as successful at Saints as an Australian has proved to be, but, should Wigan win today, Hughes will feel he has made a point.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy