Wigan stroll to easy win

Wigan 40 Harlequins 12
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wigan closed the gap between them and their visitors in the Super League play-off zone to two points on an eventful evening for Sam Tomkins.

There was little about Quins to suggest a top-eight finish as they defended poorly from the start. They made a bad job worse, however, when David Howell became the first player to be sent off in the competition this season, getting the red card after 27 minutes for a high tackle on the Wigan starlet.

Tomkins was his side's man of the match, but ended the evening in the sin-bin after a prolonged bout of dissent. Overall it was a night where he should have learnt a good deal about the realities of the game at the top level. "That's the learning curve of Super League," said his coach, Brian Noble. "But he's got a great attitude and he'll cope."

This was a match Wigan effectively had won with three tries in the first 11 minutes as they cut the slow-starting Quins to shreds. The excellent Sean O'Loughlin set up the first with a pass to George Carmont, who slipped the ball inside for Pat Richards to score.

Tomkins put in a perfectly judged kick for the second, with Mark Riddell timing his run equally well. When Amos Roberts beat Will Sharp to Thomas Leuluai's high kick to set up Karl Pryce, the Londoners already looked a beaten outfit.

Their only encouraging moment of the first half came when Matt Gafa out-jumped a static Richards to claim Danny Orr's bomb and touch down, but even that was followed by further disaster. Tomkins had been a constant torment to Quins and the forearm with which Howell floored him looked suspiciously premeditated. After taking reports from his touch-judge, Steve Ganson had no hesitation in sending him off. Almost immediately, O'Loughlin sent Carmont in and, before half-time, Roberts added a fifth.

Quins were soon in trouble again in the second half. Weak tackling allowed Phil Bailey to put Joel Tomkins over and Wigan's former full-back, Chris Melling, spilled the ball for Leuluai to burrow over from dummy half.

Karl Temata's lost ball then gave Leuluai the chance to wriggle his way over for a more eye-catching effort. Harlequins did manage a consolation effort through Luke Gale, but both coaches rather over-praised them for sticking to a task that had long been hopeless.

Wigan: Phelps; Roberts, Pryce, Carmont, Richards; S Tomkins, Leuluai; Coley, Riddell, Prescott, Bailey, Hansen, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Fielden, Paleaaesina, J.Tomkins, McIlorum.

Harlequins: Melling; Wells, Clubb, Howell, Sharp; Gale, Orr; Ward, Randall, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Temata, Williamson, Gafa. Substitutes used: Haggerty, Heckenberg, Robinson, Gardner.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)