Magic of Hansen lifts Wigan in stormy affair

Leeds 12 Wigan 26
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wigan exacted revenge for being knocked out of the Challenge Cup as they took another crucial step towards the League Leaders' Shield.

Leeds were only briefly on level terms in an often brutal clash at Headingley and they could have an extra price to pay on top of losing ground in the battle for a top-four finish.

The Rhinos' coach, Brian McLennan, claimed not to be too worried. "There was no damage done and we're pretty confident that we'll be okay with both of them," he said.

Wigan's Shaun Wane praised the toughness of Harrison Hansen in scoring the crucial try after having eight stitches in his head and compared the current Wigan side to the one he used to play in. "We're getting close to that team," he said. "We're getting a really tough underbelly."

The Rhinos had both Carl Ablett and Ryan Bailey placed on report during a stormy game will face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, just four days before their Cup semi-final against St Helens.

Wigan took the lead in the eighth minute, Joel Tomkins and Martin Gleeson opening up play down the right and Darrell Goulding kicking ahead for Thomas Leuluai to touch down.

On top of that, Leeds were fortunate still to have 13 players after Ablett took out Sam Tomkins. It sparked Wigan retribution led by elder brother Joel and, at the end of the fracas, Ablett could count himself lucky to be merely on report.

Then Bailey came on. He too was placed on report for raising his knee on George Carmont. The two Wigan victims then combined to put their side further ahead, Sam Tomkins finding Carmont, who twisted his way over, with Pat Richards adding his second conversion.

Leeds halved the deficit before the interval. Carmont was penalised for a high tackle on Scott Donald and, from that possession, Chris Clarkson forced his way over.

Wigan's Andy Coley was sent to the sin bin for a late challenge on Rob Burrow at the start of the second half and they were coping well enough with playing short-handed until Sam Tomkins lost the ball near his own line and Burrow's pass sent Keith Senior sliding over, Kevin Sinfield's goal tying the scores.

Richards then kicked Wigan back into the lead. They stretched that advantage just after the hour, Paul Deacon's precise short ball sending Hansen away on a stunning run to the line.

Gleeson then took advantage of some slack marking to score from close range on the blind side of a ruck, before Richards wrapped up the scoring with a late penalty.

Leeds Webb; Donald, Delaney, Senior, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; K Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Clarkson. Substitutes used Bailey, Burgess, Burrow, Lauitiiti.

Wigan S Tomkins; Goulding, Gleeson, Carmont, Richards; Deacon, T Leuluai; Fielden, Riddell, Coley, Hansen, J Tomkins, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used Paleaaesina, Farrell, Davies, Tuson.

Referee S Ganson (St Helens).