Wigan 28 Castleford 12: Five things we learned
Five things we learned from Wigan's 28-12 win against Castleford...
1. In the space of a week, Wigan have received a test of their big-game credentials - and passed it with flying colours.
Their nervy 9-8 win at Leeds - their first since 2012 - was followed by an impressive victory last night against Castleford, who beat the Warriors three times last season on their way to League Leaders’ Shield glory.
And so Wigan have now faced all 11 sides once, winning nine, to approach the halfway point of the regular season sitting second in the ladder - a good return in anyone’s book.
2. Centre Oliver Gildart owed his two tries to long-range breaks from the equally-impressive Joe Burgess, and Wigan’s three other tries were scored down their left-side.
But this was a team display built on a robust defence and a resolute effort from the forwards. Shaun Wane was happy, but pointed to the errors, spills and wrong-options as evidence there is “miles” of improvement in them.
3. England RU coach Eddie Jones has described rugby league as “not a skillful game, it’s a game where you’ve got to hurt people.”
He made his first appearance at the DW Stadium last night and watched the game sat alongside Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan in the directors’ box. No players were hurt in the production of the game which did - indeed - feature quite a bit of skill. Did he see enough to change his opinion?
4. Sam Tomkins reminded Wigan what a daunting task they face replacing him if, as expected, he leaves at the end of the season to join Catalans.
He kicked well, was rock solid at the back, and added guile and class to their attacks. He also agreed to analyse the match with Jon Wells at the Sky Sports touch screen afterwards. Asked if he wanted to address the Catalans link, he sheepishly replied: “No.”
5. This was the proberbial ‘four-pointer’.
Had Castleford won, they would have drawn level with second-placed Wigan - instead, now there is a four-point gap. The Tigers, in fifth spot, were missing some front-line players and should be in the mix by the end of the year. But with Warrington, Hull FC, Leeds and of course leaders St Helens completing the top-six, the race for the play-offs positions should be intense.