Widnes coach Simon Finnigan has confirmed the club will not be playing any pre-season games in the build-up to the 2021 season.

It means the club’s first game in more than a year will be the Challenge Cup first round tie away at West Wales Raiders on Sunday March 21 (12.45pm kick-off).

He said: “We won’t be having any friendlies. I think with all the rules around COVID, I just don’t think we need it.

“It’s a long season. I might look back at the halfway point and say we probably should have, but with my squad at the moment I just don’t think we need to.

“I’m not fully convinced you need these games. We’ll be ready in terms of what we need to do to get to that first game. We don’t want to be underprepared, but we’ve got to look after the players welfare, and we certainly don’t want to give them too much to do.

“I think there will be an aspect of the first few games players finding their feet after so long away. Just because you play two friendlies or whatever isn’t going to change that a huge amount.

“I’m confident we’ll ready to go come that first Challenge Cup game.”

Listen to the Simon Finnigan’s first press conference as coach in episode 44 of the Widnes Rugby Chat podcast.