David Stephenson: The man who helped Wigan win the 1987 World Club Challenge

The news broke on Tuesday that former Wigan centre David Stephenson had passed away at the age of 63.

During his time at Central Park, he played a key role in the club’s first-ever World Club Challenge victory, due to his impressive kicking game.

In 1987, Wigan had won the Championship for the first time in over 25 years.

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Chairman Maurice Lindsay decided to invite Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, the champions of Australia's NSWRL season premiers, for a match.

David Stephenson has died at the age of 63

Previously there had only ever been one game of this kind, with Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs taking on St Helens in 1976.

This match would start a much more regular occurrence, as the fixture would become an official feature and regular part of the rugby calendar.

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The fixture between Wigan and Manly kicked off at 7.45pm on October 7, on what was a dry night at Central Park.

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The number of people packed into the stadium to see the two teams go head to head was officially 36,895, but there could’ve been more.

It was a close clash between the sides, with no tries being scored throughout the whole 80 minutes.

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Tempers flared during the occasion, leading to a number of penalties being awarded.

Stephenson was on hand to successfully kick four of them, which proved to be Wigan’s only points of the game.

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Michael O’Connor was on the scoresheet for Manly, but only for a consolation as his side lost 8-2.

The man of the match in that game was none other than current England head coach Shaun Wane, but it was Stephenson’s kicking that proved to be the difference in the game.

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