Wigan Warriors v St Helens is the biggest derby, says Jon Wilkin

Ben Flower
Wigan and St Helens players came to blows in the first few minutes of last year's Grand Final

St Helens captain Jon Wilkin has described their game at Wigan as the "biggest derby" in rugby league.

The two teams meet in their traditional Good Friday fixture for the first time since Saints beat the Warriors in the 2014 Grand Final.

"Wigan and Saints is the biggest derby in rugby league," Wilkin told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"It's the aggression and passion the fans bring to the game and the players show on the field."

The 31-year-old added: "It is a special day for anyone who is lucky enough to put on the red V, it is one that we're very fired up for and something we've been thinking about for a few weeks now."

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Flower sent off for punch as Saints win

The build up to last year's Grand Final at Old Trafford was dominated by the fierce rivalry between the two sides, with former St Helens coach Nathan Brown calling it a "bitter hatred".

Within two minutes of the game starting, Wigan prop Ben Flower was sent off for punching Lance Hohaia and was subsequently banned for six months - the longest suspension in Super League history.

It will be the first meeting for the two head coaches - Wigan's Shaun Wane and Saints' Keiron Cunningham - who both were born in, and played for, the town clubs they now lead.

"It's a big opportunity for the club and the fans to get some bragging rights for a short amount of time," continued Wilkin.

"The game is so special because it's generally a sell out. The fans create the intensity and, as a result, the quality of the game is always lifted.

"I think there's only one game that didn't have that intensity and that would be when we beat them 75-0 at Knowsley Road.

"It's usually one of the most aggressive games."

Follow live text commentary of Wigan Warriors v St Helens on the BBC Sport website on Friday, 3 April (kick-off 15:00 BST).

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