Leeds Rhinos 26 Wigan Warriors 12: Challenge Cup semi-final

Wigan crashed out of the Challenge Cup after being steamrolled by Leeds.
Bevan French in action against LeedsBevan French in action against Leeds
Bevan French in action against Leeds

Adrian Lam's outfit were dominated from start to finish, and showing little of the quality they have displayed since the season restarted.

Late tries by Harry Smith and Zak Hardaker saved them the indignity of being nilled twice in a week and made the scoreboard more credible, but that proved scant consolation for the Warriors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It means there will be no return to Wembley this year, while their wait to win the Challenge Cup - the trophy with which they are synonymous - will head into an eighth season in 2021.

Leeds played the miserable conditions much better, frequently pegging Wigan back with their accurate kicking and forcing them to start their sets deep inside their own territory.

There was effort from Wigan, particularly from Liam Farrell, but not the quality to match their impressive opponents, and it leaves their hopes of winning silverware this year hanging solely on the Super League race.

Rhyse Martin was heavily involved as the Rhinos established a 20-0 lead by half-time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He kicked a 14th minute penalty and - after Luke Gale's 40-20 - crossed for a 17th minute try. He struck the conversion and a subsequent penalty after O'Loughlin was pinged for a high tackle before leaving the action until the 65th minute.

Wigan's uphill battle was made even steeper by the loss of Ethan Havard to injury. They couldn't dent a foothold into the match and in the last few minutes before the break, Leeds struck twice to tighten their grip on the match.

Ash Handley profited from Richie Myler's offload after Wigan failed to deal with a kick and moments later, Tom Briscoe swept over in the corner. Martin converted one.

At 20-0 down, the common consensus at half-time was the Warriors needed to score first in the second half and Dom Manfredi did cross, though a try was ruled out by video referee Ben Thaler, who spotted a fumble by Thomas Leuluai in the build-up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Greenwood also went close before Harry Smith came off the bench to add some spark to their attack.

But it was Wigan-born livewire Brad Dwyer who carved out the next clear cut chance, darting through and feeding Handley. He was held up by Manfredi's strong effort but wasn't to be denied minutes later, swelling the margin to 26 points.

Smith's long-range effort and Hardaker's try - both converted by the latter - proved much too little, too late.

Leeds Rhinos: Myler; Handley, Hurrell, Sutcliffe, T Briscoe; Lui, Gale; Seumanufagai, Leeming, Oledzki, Mellor, Martin, Prior. Subs: Holroyd, Dwyer, Smith, Donaldson.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Wigan: French; Manfredi, Hardaker, Bibby, Burgess; Leuluai, Hastings; Partington, Powell, Havard, Isa, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Subs: Bullock, Greenwood, Jo Shorrocks, Smith.