Tomkins plays down v-sign row after Wigan roll back the years - Rugby League - More Sports - The Independent

Tomkins plays down v-sign row after Wigan roll back the years

Wigan 28 Leeds 18: Leeds' stirring comeback comes to nothing as Warriors secure their first Challenge Cup triumph at Wembley since 1995

Wembley Stadium

Wigan fulfilled what felt like their destiny by winning the Challenge Cup at Wembley for the first time since 1995, but not without a real scare and plenty of controversy along the way.

Sam Tomkins, the focus of so much attention before the final, had his magical moments but ran the risk of being remembered more vividly for a two-fingered gesture to the Leeds supporters after the first Wigan try.

It was part of an ongoing animosity between the two parties, Rhinos fans having booed Tomkins while he was playing for England at Headingley earlier this season. The player, though, denied any offensive intent after the match, saying he had "no idea" what was being referred to.

"I really don't know what it is," he said, a stance that would have been easier to sustain if mobile phone images of the gesture had not been Tweeting their way around the world by half-time.

In theory, Tomkins could face a misconduct charge from the Rugby League. When St Helens's Kyle Eastmond flashed a V-sign at his own supporters early this season, he was suspended by the club while inquiries took place. It would be a surprise if Tomkins got more than a slap on the wrist, but his array of gifts includes a rare talent for rubbing up the opposition the wrong way.

Even though this was not the dominant performance that many predicted from him, he still showed flashes of brilliance at Wembley. He was involved in setting up Josh Charnley for the first try and then sparked the third by weaving his way across field to send his elder brother, Joel, on a stunning 80-metre dash to score under the Leeds posts.

"It was all Joel really," he said. "I skipped across a bit and he showed what he can do. It was an outstanding try."

The senior Tomkins was a candidate for the Lance Todd Trophy for the man of the match, but that distinction went to his team-mate, Jeff Lima – a reminder that there is steel as well as silky skill at the core of Wigan's success. The Kiwi, the first prop to win the award since Brian Lockwood in 1980, has been a controversial presence at Wigan, twice being suspended for his tackling technique.

On Saturday, he was as formidable as ever in defence and, having scored just one try so far this season, added two more on the biggest stage. Timing your impact does not get much better than that.

"I knew what Jeff could do before he got here and he's just got better and better," said his coach, Michael Maguire, who has now won all the major trophies during his two years in charge at Wigan.

The final underlined the qualities that have made him and his team so successful. His policy of selection strictly on form led him to leave out Gareth Hock, whose rehabilitation after his drugs ban remains a work in progress.

Maguire also expects exceptional bravery from his players and he got it from the likes of Charnley, who played on with a bone poking through the skin of his finger, and Lee Mossop, who returned to the fray after dislocating his shoulder.

There was an abundance of courage from Leeds too. At 16-0 they were heading for a defeat even more humiliating and damaging than last year's 30-6 at the hands of Warrington but they found the reserves of self-belief to make it a compelling contest.

Part of that was down to the impact of Rob Burrow from the bench, but perhaps the best sign for the club's long-term future was the way that young outside backs like Kallum Watkins and Ben Jones-Bishop coped with the occasion. Both had eye-catching games, leaving the watching England coach, Steve McNamara, with a favourable impression of their potential.

Another thing that needs to be said in Leeds' favour is that they had no luck whatsoever in the key refereeing decisions. Lima's second try should have been disallowed for a clear forward pass, a vital scrum-feed awarded against the Rhinos was, at best, debatable and Thomas Leuluai's clinching touchdown looked unconvincing on the video replay.

For all that, the Leeds coach, Brian McDermott, was adamant that Wigan deserved their triumph, if only because his own players had failed to defend their line well enough at crucial times.

It was Wigan's day – and an unforgettable one for their captain, Sean O'Loughlin. When he walked up to collect the Cup, he felt like he was walking in the footsteps of predecessors like Ellery Hanley, Shaun Edwards, Dean Bell and his brother-in-law, Andy Farrell.

"For a Wigan lad to be lifting that Cup is a very special feeling," he said. It came at the end of a special match – one almost as gripping as Wigan's victory over Hull in 1985.

That is the tradition that has been revived by Maguire and his men. The test now is whether they can re-focus on retaining their Super League title; that would truly define them as a special side.

Wigan S Tomkins; Charnley, J Tomkins, Carmont, Richards; Finch, Deacon; Lima, T Leuluai, Coley, Hansen, Hoffman, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used McIlorum, Mossop, Prescott, Farrell.

Leeds Webb; Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Ablett, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; K Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Hauraki. Substitutes used Burrow, Kirke, Clarkson, Bailey.

Referee P Bentham (Warrington).

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Commuter travels 320 metres, 75 steps, two ticket barriers and a labyrinth of roads to get to work
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK edition of wedding show forced to recast after wave of drop-outs
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week