Salford 16 Wigan 4: Littler makes big impression to cut down Warriors

Salford carried Wigan's Super League misery into the Challenge Cup with three tries in the third quarter of a thrillingly intense tie, knocking them out of the competition they used to monopolise. Scores from Sean Rutgerson, Stuart Littler and Aaron Moule, all in the space of 14 minutes, decided the game after a first half which was pointless but passionate.

"Wigan came here to try to turn their season around and the first 40 minutes was as tough as you'll ever see," said the Salford coach Karl Harrison.

Ten years ago, Wigan lost at Salford in the Challenge Cup, ending eight years of supremacy in the world's oldest rugby league competition. That looks a mere blip compared to what threatens to happen this season, with relegation stalking the Warriors. There is something close to desperation afoot at the club, perhaps illustrated by bringing Gareth Hock straight back last night after 15 months out with injury and dropping Dennis Moran to the bench.

Wigan's best early chance came and went when Hock betrayed a little ring rust by knocking on from Danny Orr's pass, before Salford threatened, with Gareth Haggerty and Moule leading a counterattack from deep inside their own half.

The former Wigan scrum-half, Luke Robinson, was sniping and scheming constantly for Salford and came close to creating an opening for Littler, spoilt by another handling mistake.

It was six minutes into the second half before the deadlock was broken. There seemed little danger when Rutgerson took Andrew Duneman's pass and was swallowed up in a three-man battle. The passion this season though is for the tackle to be allowed to run its course and Rutgerson kept forcing his way forward to eventually drop over the line, with John Wilshire adding the goal. Robinson's superb pass and Ryan Clayton's equally good run set up Salford's second try. Wigan managed to stop Clayton under the sticks, but Littler barged his way over on the right.

Salford rubbed in their superiority with a sweeping move for the third try, finished by Moule touching down, with Stephen Myler contributing the goal.

Salford possibly thought the job was done, as they allowed Moran and Darrell Goulding to set up Pat Richards for Wigan's first points. That gave Wigan hope but Salford's tackling in the time that remained showed why it is they and not Wigan who are in the Cup quarter-final this year.

"I'm not criticising the players for their efforts but we're not building enough pressure," said Wigan's coach Brian Noble. "I'm enjoying the hard work but I hate getting beaten."

Salford: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Moule, Littler, Wilshere, Duneman, Robinson, Highton, Alker, Rutgerson, Sibbit, Coley, Finnigan. Substitutes used: Charles, Haggerty, Myler, Clayton.

Wigan: Ashton, Dallas, Goulding, Vaealiki, Richards, O'Loughlin, Orr, Logan, Higham, Paleaaesina, Hock, Tickle, Fletcher. Substitutes used: Seuseu, Hargreaves, Godwin, Moran.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral