Richards runs the show as Wigan put dismal Wakefield to the sword

Wakefield 6 Wigan 48
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The Independent Online

Wigan restored their Super League lead to four points in what was ultimately a commanding victory over a dismal Wakefield. Karl Pryce continued his prolific try-scoring form by running in a hat-trick, but he was outshone by a consummate performance at full-back from Pat Richards, who contributed two tries and six goals.

Michael Maguire, the Wigan coach, did as he had said he would by including his three England players less than 24 hours after playing against France. There looked little wrong with that policy in the first few minutes, as one of that trio, Sean O'Loughlin set up a try and scored another.

The first came from a low, skidding pass to Pryce after Sam Obst had kicked straight into touch. The second was the result of O'Loughlin backing up a break by his England team-mate, Joel Tomkins. O'Loughlin reached the try-line despite sustaining a thigh injury en route, which forced him off and places a question mark over his presence for the meeting with St Helens on Sunday.

Wigan went further ahead when Richards broke through and fed Liam Farrell, while Pryce's second, from George Carmont's pass, emphasised the gap between the two sides before half-time.

Pryce completed his hat-trick from Richards' clever kick, before the Wildcats had their one moment's joy of the afternoon. It came from Paul Cooke's low kick and Jason Demetriou's ingenious flick-on to Damien Blanch, but it stood in stark isolation from the rest of Wakefield's efforts.

Richards scored from Phil Bailey's over-the-shoulder pass before Trinity made things even harder for themselves when Dale Ferguson was banished to the sin-bin. In his absence, Amos Roberts touched down from Sam Tomkins' kick, before Richards and Sam Tomkins completed the rout.

As far as Maguire was concerned, it was an outstanding effort, especially from those players just back from England duty – although their freshness should have been more severely tested.

Wakefield: Blaymire; Blanch, Murphy, Demetriou, George; Morrison, Cooke; Korkidas, Obst, Moore, Johnson, Henderson, Kirmond. Subs used: Leaeno, Ferguson, Davey, King.

Wigan: Richards; Roberts, Gleeson, Carmont, Pryce; S Tomkins, Leuluai; Fielden, McIlorum, Coley, Bailey, J Tomkins, O'Loughlin. Subs used: Paleaaesina, Riddell, Prescott, Farrell.

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).