Rugby League: Wigan take their time to exert authority

Wigan 48 Castleford 8
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Wigan were able to win handsomely while still keeping plenty in reserve for St Helens on Monday, as a Castleford side that belied its League position in the early stages fell apart in the second half.

Wigan, who have been showing signs lately of regaining their old commanding form, started slowly against Super League's bottom club.

After an exchange of penalties, they fell behind when Terry O'Connor gave the ball away to David Chapman. Castleford made the most of the gift by breaking swiftly, Graham Steadman and Adrian Vowles doing the damage before their new signing, Jason Critchley, went in.

A ponderous Wigan needed a stroke of luck to get them moving and it came when Brendon Tuuta's pass went to ground. Nigel Wright picked up and although he did not have the pace to get away from Jason Roach, he had the presence of mind to kick through and give Kris Radlinski the equalising try.

Radlinski also figured prominently in Wigan's second try, making the break from Henry Paul's pass and finding Jason Robinson in support just as he was enveloped by two Castleford tacklers.

Castleford's tackling let them down badly in the first minute of the second half when Wright took Tony Smith's ball to plunge over. Without ever looking particularly convincing, Wigan were firmly in control.

When Gary Connolly judged a kick through perfectly to chase and touch down, it was not only a glimpse of vintage Connolly but conformation that Wigan were over their early uncertainties. The same player, rarely at his best since his return from rugby union, soon got through again as his side began to run away with it.

The strength of Simon Haughton then created a second for Robinson before taking him over for one on his own account.

Smith, now thoroughly enjoying himself against his old club, rounded off what had become a rout.

Wigan: Paul, Robinson, Connolly, Radlinski, Johnson, Wright, Smith, Cowie, Hall, O'Connor, Haughton, Cassidy, Farrell. Substitutes used: Hansen, Holgate, Tallec.

Castleford: Steadman, Roach, Critchley, Flowers, Chapman, Orr, Ford, Sampson, Russell, Crooks, Anderson, Tuuta, Vowles. Substitutes used: Schick, Richardson, St Hilaire.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).