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).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine