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Wigan Warriors have been shocked by the news captain Sean O’Loughlin could miss the rest of season with an Achilles injury.
The 30-year-old has been playing through the pain barrier for several weeks and has now been told by a specialist that he will need to wear a protective boot for the next month.
It means the influential forward will miss the final game of the regular season against Leeds along with the play-off games, although there is an outside chance he could make the Grand Final on October 5th should Wigan get there.
O’Loughlin skippered Wigan to Challenge Cup glory against Hull FC at Wembley last month and his absence will be a huge loss to coach Shaun Wane.
“I’m gutted for Lockers and it’s a big blow, but we’ll deal with it,”
If Wigan avoid defeat against Leeds on Thursday night they will finish third in the Super League table, which would mean a very tricky trip to Warrington Wolves.
A Rhinos win would see them take third and take on the Wire, so it is a game that neither side really want to win.
Meanwhile, England coach Steve McNamara is also sweating on the fitness of O’Loughlin ahead of the World Cup which begins at the end of October.
However it is thought the loose forward’s participation in the tournament is not in doubt at this stage.