Warrington Wolves coach bemoans two key factors in Wigan Warriors' Challenge Cup triumph

Harry Smith and Bevan French ran the show for Wigan at WembleyHarry Smith and Bevan French ran the show for Wigan at Wembley
Harry Smith and Bevan French ran the show for Wigan at Wembley
Sam Burgess pinpointed Wigan Warriors half-backs Bevan French and Harry Smith as the key factors behind Warrington Wolves' defeat in the Challenge Cup final.

French, who won the Lance Todd Trophy award, scored one try and had another controversially disallowed in Wigan's 18-8 victory at Wembley.

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Smith, meanwhile, controlled the game from the off, with his kicking game continually keeping Wire on the back foot.

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"Bevan's a great player," acknowledged Burgess. "And Wigan are very good defensively as well as having some very good players who can cause you problems.

"Harry Smith’s kicking game was exceptional and kept us in good areas of the field.

"They played as a team and played as Wigan – they’re champions for a reason. We’ve got a bit of learning to do from this."

Burgess rejected the notion his side had 'frozen' in their first final together as a group.

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"We’ve a young squad," he said. "We had 12 players out there who had never played in a final so you’d like to think they’ll be better next time.

"It’s experience for us as a group, a new group and I’m a new coach. I wouldn’t say we froze but the occasion got us a bit early.

"We were always behind and didn’t play the way we’ve played all year. That’s the most disappointing – if we’d have come here and played great but got beat, we could live with that.

"The players are really disappointed in there and rightly so, but we’ve got to learn from that, take the experience and move forward."

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Warrington led 2-0 early on, but Wigan always appeared in control of their own destiny.

"There was no scoreboard pressure in the first half when we made nine errors," Burgess said.

"We didn’t play how we’ve played all year and the players are more disappointed than anybody about that, but we’ll get back to the drawing board.

"It’s not the end of us. We’ve got another great challenge coming up – there’s 14 games to go in the league and that’s 14 opportunities to improve ourselves, then we go again.

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"They had to make some better choices – we didn’t really get into the feel of the game but they’ll learn from it.

"I’ve got a really disappointed group there. I’m disappointed too – I wanted to see a great spectacle and I don’t think we saw that.

"We’re not going to be shaken by it. We made the final – however many teams competed to be here but we’re here. We just had a bad day at the office.

"Is it going to knock our confidence? No.

"Are we disappointed? Of course we are, but it’s only going to make us better in the long run.

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"I expect them to be disappointed but I don’t know how it can knock our confidence. It will just give us greater experience for next time we’re here.

"It’s all raw at the minute – I’m feeling the guys’ pain in the changing rooms and I’m a bit deflated too at the moment.

"I’ll look at where I can get better, where I can improve, and how I can help them better. That will be part of my development.”

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