Rugby League: Sheffield supreme

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The Independent Online
Warrington 12 Sheffield Eagles 38

Sheffield gained a first win under their new coach, John Kear, after being sent on their way by a swift and spectacular double strike from their French winger, Jean-Marc Garcia.

Wilderspool has seen its share of long-range touchdowns in its time, not least in the 1950s when Brian Bevan reigned supreme as the game's most legendary try-scorer. Few can have measured further than the one with which Garcia put the Eagles in to a lead they were never to lose yesterday.

Warrington were ahead through a try from their young wingman, Paul Wingfield, when Nick Pinkney fielded a kick from Paul Sculthorpe behind the Sheffield try-line.

He ran virtually the width of the pitch before straightening up and heading downfield to cross half-way, only to be wrapped up by Lee Penny when he looked as though he might complete the marathon single-handed. Instead, Garcia arrived to cover the last stage of a 150-yard epic from which Warrington never recovered.

Four minutes later, on the stroke of half-time, Garcia took a ball cleverly flicked on by Keith Senior, kicked ahead and strolled through a static rearguard for his second.

Warrington's defence, already the worst in the Super League, was on the point of collapse. In the second half, some woefully weak and indecisive tackling allowed Danny McAllister, Whetu Taewa, twice, and Johnny Lawless to carve their way through for further Sheffield tries, while Mark Aston finished with seven goals to show for a typically accurate kicking display.

Warrington had the meagre consolation of an effort from Super League's leading try-scorer, Nigel Vagana, when he latched on to Kelly Shelford's pass during one of their few coherent phases of rugby.

For the most part, however, they were embarrassingly out-played by a side which, for all its own recent problems, showed far more spirit and determination. It was not the slightest bit surprising that some disillusioned supporters should have chanted and demonstrated for changes at board-room level at the end of this dismal performance.

Warrington: Penny, Wingfield, Finau, Vagana, Forster, Wainwright, Briers, Stevens, Shelford, Chambers, Tatupu, Knott, Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Geritas, Thorniley, Highton, Roper.

Sheffield: Sovatabua, Taewa, Senior, Pinkney, Garcia, Flynn, Aston, Broadbent, Lawless, Edmed, Carr, McAllister, Eyres. Substitutes used: Morganson, Mycoe, Thompson, Erba.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).