Sinfield takes Leeds back to Wembley

Leeds Rhinos 39 Wigan Warriors 28: Rhinos take spectacular revenge for their defeat in last year's cup final

Galpharm Stadium

Who says Challenge Cup semi-finals are tight, tense affairs? Leeds booked their place at Wembley with a series of madcap adventures.

Wigan could never undo the damage of the opening minutes, as the flawless tactical kicking of Kevin Sinfield and the finishing of Ryan Hall and Zak Hardaker put the Rhinos ahead and kept them there.

Wigan, cup-holders and top of Super League, made a dreadful start. After only three minutes, Sinfield hoisted a high kick, Sam Tomkins could not hold it and Hall scooped it up for the game's first try. Against a side who have been blowing the opposition away early on, that was a major achievement for Leeds.

Tomkins miscalculated again when he let another Sinfield kick roll into touch for a 40/20 and possession from the resulting scrum. Leeds seized eagerly upon their second opportunity, moving the ball wide to the right for Ben Jones-Bishop to score from Kallum Watkins' pass. This time it was too narrow an angle for Sinfield to convert.

Inside the game's first 12 minutes, Wigan were opened up for a third time, Hardaker touching down from Jamie Peacock's perfectly controlled offload, although there did seem to have been a forward pass in the build-up to the try.

A typical run from Tomkins put Wigan on the attack for the first time and they struck back, Brett Finch's expertly weighted pass putting George Carmont through a gap. Almost immediately, the second-row forward Gareth Hock cut the Leeds defence to ribbons with a surging run from deep and ignored the supporting Tomkins to score all on his own. Tomkins kicked his second conversion and Leeds' handsome lead was down to a plain four points.

Not for long. From the next attack of a breathless half, Hall got in at the corner to double that advantage with his second try. He was then desperately close to his third, from Sinfield's cross-field kick, but Ryan Bailey got across the whitewash on the next play.

Another Sinfield kick followed and a leaping take by Jones-Bishop put the Rhinos, surely beyond their wildest dreams, on the 30-point mark. Wigan then hit back before the interval with the luckiest of tries, Liam Farrell's pass hitting Ben Flower on the foot and coming back off the post for Flower to touch down. Tomkins' conversion and a penalty from halfway made it a 10-point gap.

If there was a feeling of the game not yet quite being won, it seemed much more secure for Leeds with the first try of the second half, Brett Delaney making the break and the referee ruling that a Wigan hand had knocked the ball down before Hardaker gathered to finish.

Still Wigan were not quite dead, Tomkins chipping ahead for Sean O'Loughlin to catch and race over.

It was enough to persuade Sinfield to invest in a drop goal and a penalty goal, just to make absolutely sure, despite Josh Charnley's late try for Wigan.

Leeds Hardaker; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Ablett, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Bailey. Substitutes used Kirke, Griffin, Ward, Lunt.

Wigan Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Gelling; O'Loughlin, Finch; Lima, McIlorum, Mossop, Hansen, Hock, Tuson. Substitutes used Farrell, Lauaki, Flower, Hughes.

Referee B Thaler (Wakefield).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas