Richards leads way as Warriors destroy Hull

Hull 0 Wigan 46
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The Independent Online

Wigan got their bid to finish top of Super League back on course last night, against a Hull side who were a pale imitation of the one that beat their neighbours so memorably eight days earlier.

With Shaun Wane in charge during Michael Maguire's period of compassionate leave, the Warriors rarely looked back after they had taken an early 12-point lead. It was all a little too easy, especially down the vulnerable right-hand side of Hull's defence, where Wigan repeatedly made inroads. "This week has been a tough week, but the lads responded," said Wane. "I could tell that they were ready to rip into someone and they've done that tonight."

Hull's coach Richard Agar said: "We've got to be a whole lot better because they've got a very ruthless streak to them. Some of our individual errors heaped pressure on us."

Pat Richards led the way with 26 points, from his seven goals and a hat-trick of tries, to take his season total to 24, while Sam Tomkins and Liam Farrell chipped in with two apiece. It was an antidote to any suggestion that Wigan are losing their way in pursuit of the League Leaders' Shield, but in truth they had little to beat.

It always looked like an interesting time for these two sides to play each other. Wigan were still stinging from their defeat by Warrington a week earlier, while Hull's victory in the Humberside derby the night before that had come at a price, with Richard Whiting and Mark Calderwood added to their long-term injury list.

It took 12 minutes before Wigan went into the lead, but when they did it was by virtue of quick back-to-back tries. Hull put themselves under pressure when Lee Radford was penalised for holding down Sam Tomkins and, from that attack, Paul Deacon kicked for Pat Richards to score in the corner, despite Craig Hall's tackle.

From the restart Wigan went back again, Liam Farrell tumbling over the try-line after good work by George Carmont and Richards. With Richards' first two goals, Wigan were already well in command.

Richard Horne did ask a series of questions of the league leaders' defence, but answers were always forthcoming. One of Hull's more promising moments came when Kirk Yeaman slipped a clever pass to Willie Manu but that too came to nothing. By contrast, Wigan were clinical and they increased their lead with another rapid double-strike. Sean O'Loughlin's pass looked suspect, but Darrell Goulding was credited, like Richards, with his 23rd try of the season. Then Richards fielded Sam Tomkins' kick and returned it to him for a fourth try.

Wigan started the second half with the same players doing the damage, Richards kicking infield for Tomkins to touch down. Goulding had to be helped off after a high tackle from Yeaman that showed all too clearly Hull's desperation, but surprisingly brought no card for the culprit.

Harrison Hansen then laid on another for Richards down that same wide-open right flank, after Jordan Tansey had clumsily helped Deacon's kick over the dead-ball line.

Hull looked drained as their visitors turned on the style after that, with Sam Moa's bullocking run a rare bright moment. Even that was soon overshadowed by Sam Tomkins' run and reverse pass to give Farrell his second.

Richards completed his hat-trick from a looping pass from Paul Deacon and made it seven goals from eight from the touchline. By then, Hull were offering little more than target practice.

Hull: Tansey; Hall, Turner, Yeaman, Briscoe; Horne, Berrigan; Dowes, Haughton, Radford, Lauaki, Manu, Washbrook. Substitutes used: Moa, Cusack, Burnett, Nicklas.

Wigan: S.Tomkins; Goulding, Gleeson, Carmont, Richards; Deacon, Leuluai, Prescott, Riddell, Coley, Farrell, J.Tomkins, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Tuson, Paleaasina, Fielden, Hansen.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).