‘I’m happy with that’: Shaun Wane delighted as youngsters get Wigan Warriors past Leigh Centurions

By Mark Shales

Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane praised his youngsters for demolishing neighbours Leigh Centurions, Sam Tomkins scoring four to seal a Challenge Cup last-16 spot.

Hatricks for Josh Charnley and Pat Richards added to debutant George Williams’ score while Leigh claimed back some pride through Rob Parker and Ryan Brierley.

The 18-time champions are yet to lose at the DW Stadium this season but Wane applauded his Championship opponents for putting up a fight.   

“I was very happy with that,” he said. “It’s a really important competition to me and that’s the first one down.

“I was pleased with a lot of our execution. When you consider towards the end we probably had the youngest halfback partnership we’ve ever had at this club – an 18 and a 20-year-old.

“I was impressed with Leigh, I thought they defended very well – I know the score doesn’t suggest that but they did really well – I have to commend them.

“A great performance for a great local derby. I thought Leigh’s supporters were fantastic – they got behind the team and made it a good atmosphere.”

Leigh looked undaunted from the off but it was the hosts that broke the deadlock on six minutes, Charnley finishing off a simple Wigan left-to-right move to score in the corner.

The Warriors smelled blood and doubled their lead three minutes later with Pat Richards producing a wicked side-step to turn Leigh’s fullback, before kicking his first conversion.

Tomkins joined in on 12 minutes, linking up with Darrell Goulding to finish off a stylish two-on-one before the try-scorer turned try-provider, gifting Richards his second of the night.

Leigh continued to battle away and breached the hosts’ defence on 18 minutes, skipper Parker completing a well-worked team effort before adding the extras with the boot.

Tomkins ran over for a second on 32 minutes before completing his hatrick on the half-time hooter – Richards converting both to give Wigan a 26-point lead at the break.

The Warriors came out blazing into the second period, Charnley going over within 60 seconds of the restart before Richards claimed his hatrick – taking his tally to 26 points after a fourth Tomkins score.

Charnley showed his strength to complete a hatrick of hatricks on 56 minutes before setting up Williams to score moments later – the teenager then getting mobbed by his thrilled teamates.

The Centurions were unlucky not to have scored more – former Warrior John O’Donnell having a try disallowed – but Leigh ended their Cup campaign on a high with Brierley scoring two minutes from time.

Prop James Greenwood also made his Wigan debut alongside Williams and Wane admitted his delight with the success of the Warriors’ youth set-up.

“It’s a big step up and they’re under quite a bit of pressure to play a certain way for us,” said Wane.

“It’s not the easiest of debuts for them so I thought they both acquitted themselves really well.

“At one stage of the game we had 12 lads on the field that all came through the system – Pat Richards the only exception – and that’s the way forward for us.”

Image courtesy of SuperLeague TV, via YouTube, with thanks

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