Hicks hat-trick as Warrington take challenge cup

Leeds 6 Warrington 30

Australian Chris Hicks became only the sixth player to score a hat-trick of tries in a Challenge Cup final as Warrington produced a masterclass in today's showpiece at Wembley to retain the trophy in clinical fashion.

In front of a sell-out crowd of 85,217, the Wolves combined magnificent defence and enterprising attacking rugby that brought them three tries in each half of the most one-sided final since Leeds hammered London Broncos 52-16 on their last Wembley appearance in 1999.

The Rhinos have dominated Super League's Grand Final, with four Old Trafford triumphs in the last six years, but their failure to make their mark on the famous Challenge Cup continues to hang around their necks like a millstone.

They have now lost four finals in 10 years and their misery was compounded by the fact that Wolves centre Ryan Atkins, who slipped through Leeds' fingers as a youngster, set the platform with two first-half tries.

Today's victory was another tactical triumph for Warrington's former Leeds coach Tony Smith, whose surprise decision to drop England scrum-half Richie Myler paid off handsomely with the Wolves playmakers all making telling contributions.

While Atkins and Hicks supplied the finishing touches, the architect was veteran stand-off Lee Briers, who had a hand or foot in three of his side's first four tries which broke the resistence of the Super League champions and earned him the prestigious Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match.

Already without Jamie Peacock and Luke Burgess, the Rhinos lost a third prop, Kylie Leuluai, with a knock inside the first quarter, although he was able to return, unlike second-rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan after he hobbled off 15 minutes into the second half.

The Rhinos also had to carry out running repairs to keep half-backs Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow on the field but there was no doubting the superiority of Smith's men, who strangled the life out of the Leeds attack with some brilliant defence.

Yet had Leeds displayed most of the early enterprise, using the full width of the pitch even on the last tackle from deep inside their own half, and they created the first try-scoring opportunity.

Kevin Sinfield and McGuire combined to get prop forward Ryan Bailey through a gap but he was unable to ground the ball and Warrington made the most of the let-off with two tries in a four-minute spell.

Atkins, who was rejected by his home-town club because he was too small, leapt high to gather Briers' kick to touch down for his first try after defender Brett Delaney crucially lost his footing and then Hicks took Matt King's inside pass to finish decisively for his first.

The Wolves then defended superbly to keep their lead intact before striking again on the counter-attack six minutes before half-time.

Left winger Chris Riley appeared to be offside when he collected the ball from McGuire's towering kick but there was no whistle and he raced away to halfway to set up the position for Atkins to sprint clear from dummy half to score his second try.

Leeds did enough at the start of the second half to suggest they could come back but the thin blue line of Warrington's defence stood firm despite the best efforts of Delaney.

He was pushed back at the line on one occasion and when he eventually got over was to be denied by outstanding full-back Richard Mathers, who got his body under the ball.

The Wolves had no problem finishing off their chances and they put the game to bed after 61 minutes when Hicks leapt above Ryan Hall to gather another accurate kick from Briers and grab his second try.

Westwood's touchline conversion made it 20-0 and, although Leeds briefly threatened a fightback when winger Lee Smith went over for a 67th-minute try, Warrington were simply irresistible.

Mathers was denied a try by video referee Ian Smith because of an obstruction, but Hicks was not to be denied a hat-trick as he took Ben Westwood's pass to cross at the corner and second-rower Louis Anderson completed the rout by powering through a tiring defence for his side's sixth try.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world