Tomkins' fine solo show sets up third holiday win for rampant Wigan

Crusaders 16 Wigan 48

Sam Tomkins scored two memorable solo tries as the Super League champions made it three wins out of three over the demanding holiday period.

The full-back's second try, a thrilling 60-metre dash after he had stepped through the initial attempts to tackle him, sealed the match after Crusaders, totally out-gunned in the first half, had staged a creditable rally in the second. Not that that impressed their coach, Iestyn Harris.

"I thought we were soft in the first half, really, really soft," he said. "Wigan were clinical. They were like a rottweiler with a bone; they weren't going to let go.

"Sam Tomkins is a special player, but if you allow their forwards to dominate you, someone of his ability will have a field day."

Josh Charnley also scored two tries as Wigan punished the home side with some ruthless finishing.

"Sam performed really well, but it was our front-rowers who really put their hands up today and that's where the match was won," said Wigan's Michael Maguire as his side went joint top of Super League with Warrington, with the extra advantage of a game in hand.

Crusaders, shock winners against the then leaders Huddersfield in their last match at the Racecourse Ground, had Gareth Thomas in their line-up at centre despite his attendance at the royal wedding, whereas Wigan had to re-jig slightly to cover for the absence of Joel Tomkins and Harrison Hansen, with calf and knee injuries respectively.

On top of that, Ryan Hoffman had a rigorous on-field fitness test on his right knee before getting the go-ahead – none of which prevented Wigan making the ideal start.

A quick turnover of possession, the first of the afternoon's sinuous runs from Tomkins, a kick from Brett Finch to Pat Richards's wing and the Warriors were on their way within two minutes.

A mistake by Tony Martin helped them to their second try, Tomkins chiming into the line before he released Charnley with a perfectly timed pass.

A glorious Tomkins solo, from a diagonal run past a series of stranded defenders, was followed by a Thomas Leuluai try set up by a magnificent short ball from Paul Prescott to Jeff Lima. An equally good pass from Sean O'Loughlin, on his 250th appearance, sent Finch over and Richards's goal-kicking remained flawless as he underlined his all-round value to his team now that he is fit again.

A sharp Leuluai break from dummy-half and borderline pass to give the alert Charnley his second got the second half off to a similarly assured start, but then Crusaders produced some belated signs of defiance to lift the spirit of their slice of a 5,000-strong crowd.

"I expected that they were going to come back at us," said Maguire. "They're a team that don't go away."

Thomas started the comeback, scoring from Clinton Schifcofske's pass, and although Michael McIlorum got one for Wigan from a dart from dummy-half, the Welsh team finally had a bit of momentum.

Martin fooled George Carmont to set up Michael Witt and Thomas's charging run and excellent one-handed pass saw Stuart Reardon pick up on the half-volley for a picture-book try for Crusaders.

Although the best of Tomkins was yet to come and the match was long since decided, that was the sort of thing that enabled the home side to finish the afternoon with a little pride. They could have had a couple more tries, but had left their big effort far too late. "We dug in second half, but our first half was soft," said Harris. "I thought we had more resilience about us than that."

All the signs are that playing Wigan for the rest of the season will require plenty of that quality.

Crusaders: Schifcofske; Reardon, Martin, Thomas, Tansey; Witt, Hanbury; Bryant, White, Flower, Cahill, Chan, Winterstein. Substitutes used: Dudson, Sammut, O'Hara, Johnson.

Wigan: S.Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Richards; Finch, Leuluai; Coley, McIlorum, Mossop, Hoffman, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Lima, Prescott, Deacon, Tuson.

Referee: J Child (Dewsbury).

Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
musicYou'll have to ask Taylor Swift first
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
people
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
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

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness