Challenge Cup: Three talking points from Wigan Warriors' victory over Leeds Rhinos at Headingley

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Wigan Warriors booked their place in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a 18-14 win over Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.

Matty Peet’s side had to come from behind to claim victory against the team that beat them comfortably in Super League last week.

Bevan French was among the scorers, with the fullback going for a brace.

Here are some of the talking points from the game:

Morgan Smithies and Sam Powell celebrate at full timeMorgan Smithies and Sam Powell celebrate at full time
Morgan Smithies and Sam Powell celebrate at full time

Second half comeback

Wigan showed a lot of character throughout the second half.

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On the back of last week’s poor display, they could’ve easily crumbled when they went 14-0 down.

Instead they continued to fight and kept themselves in the contest.

Junior Nsemba went over for a try in the second halfJunior Nsemba went over for a try in the second half
Junior Nsemba went over for a try in the second half

The tough conversations on the back of last week’s 40-18 defeat will only make Peet’s side stronger in the long-term.

No team wants to be on the end of a loss like that, but it’s an experience they can use to better themselves.

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Coming up against the exact same opponent was probably an ideal test.

It still wasn’t perfect, and things didn’t always click, but the team stuck together and responded well to any individual errors.

There are still things to work on and many more hurdles to overcome, but we can hopefully put last week’s loss down as nothing more than a blip.

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Challenge Cup: Wigan Warriors come from behind against Leeds Rhinos to book quar...

Tries at the right time

French’s try at the end of the first half would’ve provided them with a boost, but the way they came back out after the break was the key to their change in fortunes.

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To instantly hit the Rhinos after the restart really signalled a clear shift in momentum.

Liam Farrell did well to break, before providing French with his second of the afternoon.

From there, the home side couldn’t play with the same intensity, while Wigan gained a bit more confidence, in both attack and defence, with things looking a bit more assured for the visitors.

It was great to see Junior Nsemba go over to level the scores, after an impressive overall display from the youngster, before Jake Wardle scored the winner.

Hampshire’s return

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Ryan Hampshire made his appearance for Wigan since rejoining the club during the off-season after working his way back to full fitness following an ACL injury.

The stand off had picked up minutes in a reserves game last month, and had also been named as 18th man in the last few weeks.

Throughout the game, the 28-year-old had some promising moments, including his assist for Wardle’s winner.

Over the next few weeks, Hampshire can demonstrate why Wigan brought him back to the club.

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He’s versatile for a start, and will help to fill a number of positions when required, but also provides a different option to what the Warriors already have.

With Cade Cust in the mix again as well, it will be interesting to see where he will be utilised.

Wigan also welcomed back Liam Marshall and Kaide Ellis for the fixture at Headingley, but suffered another blow during the early stages of the game, with Ethan Havard forced off through injury.

At full time, Peet also confirmed Willie Isa and Kai Pearce-Paul would both be out for an extended period of time.