'Fantastic' Richards takes charge as Wigan resist Saints' comeback

Wigan 28 - St Helens 16

Pat Richards's second try, eight minutes from time, clinched a Wigan win which had at one time looked  inevitable but which finally had to be earned against a determined St Helens resurgence.

"I thought Pat Richards was far and away our best player," said the Wigan coach, Shaun Wane. "He's been consistently fantastic for us this season."

Richards also kicked four goals for a personal tally of 16 points in a match featuring some spectacular tries and some hugely impressive performances from players new to the demands of this derby.

The young Wigan prop Dom Crosby stood out, with a crucial try and plenty of powerful running, while Blake Green, in his first season at the club, exerted more control over the action than anyone.

For Saints, the giant front-rower, Alex Walmsley and the fleet-footed Mark Percival might have finished on the losing side, but their promise for the future was plain to see.

Injuries meant that Saints fielded a strange-looking side, with Paul Wellens and Jon Wilkin – a full-back and a second-rower – as half-backs and Stuart Howarth, once of Wigan, making his debut at hooker. Sometimes, a makeshift side can pleasantly surprise everyone, including the team themselves; in the first half there was not a hint that this might be one of those occasions.

Wigan were simply too incisive to let opponents settle into unfamiliar roles and soon led through beautifully crafted team tries finished by Richards and Sam Tomkins.

Even when Saints staged a rare attack, it blew up in their faces. They showed great initiative in keeping the ball alive in Wigan's 20, but when it went to ground Josh Charnley scooped it up and run 90 metres to touch down.

Saints were reinvigorated after the break, putting the Warriors under concerted pressure for the first time and getting their reward through Paul Clough.

Crosby replied for a Wigan side itself lacking four regular props, but back-to-back tries from Francis Meli and Tom Makinson gave St Helens the glimpse of the sort of unlikely come-back victory in which they used to specialise. But the outstanding Liam Farrell's lofted pass sent Richards away and a derby which sold out the DW Stadium for a seventh year running was decided.

Wigan: S Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Thornley, Richards; Green, Smith; Crosby, McIlorum, Flower, Tuson, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Hughes, Taylor, L.Tomkins, Burke

St Helens: Makinson; Gardner, Turner, Percival, Meli; Wellens, Wilkin; Laffranchi, Howarth, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Jones, Manu, Walker. Substitutes used: Flanagan, Clough, Walmsley, Soliola.

Referee: R.Silverwood (Mirfield).

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all