Wigan handed a debut to Joe Burgess on the wing and a late dropout by Sam Tomkins due to illness saw Ryan Hampshire take his place at full back while three former Warriors lined up for the Rovers, Sean Gleeson, Michael Dobson and David Hodgson.
The early stages saw both sides exchange penalties and Wigan had a great chance to open the scoring only for Hansen to knock on with the try line in sight and a bad injury to Cox caused a long delay in play but luckily he was able to walk rather than be stretchered off.
Wigan took the lead in the 13th minute after a superb run by Hall saw him put into touch by Burgess who then went on an amazing run which included quick hands from Wigan to enable Charnley to go in for the try in open space but failing to convert his own try put the score at 4-0.
Rovers responded in the 17th minute as a pacy run and pass by Mika allowed full back Greg Eden over for a try through a gap in the defence and an easy goal by Dobson handed Rovers a 4-6 lead.
Both sides exchanged penalties as they committed a number of errors and Rovers extended their lead in the 35th minute as a quick run by Dobson split the Wigan defence and went over for an easy try which but his missed conversion made it a six point gap at 4-10.
Wigan attempted to level the score and a succession of penalties saw Rovers given a team warning and Lauaki looked to have scored a comeback try but on review he had come up short but within minutes, Wigan were back level as a Smith kick was taken by Charnley who set up the in-running Goulding for a try right on the hooter and Charnley's successful kick made it 10 all at the break.
As the second half began, Rovers knew the next penalty would see them drop to 12 men temporarily and it took barely five minutes as Withers was sin binned for a professional foul on Hampshire and Wigan took advantage as Smith's quick pass saw Goulding pick out Charnley who went over for the try.
Silverwood went to the screen and after extensive review the try was awarded as Charnley was at full stretch to touchdown and despite missing the goal, Wigan led 14-10 but it could have been even better for Wigan as Charnley went in again after a clever kick from Goulding but on review it was deemed he had 'bounced' the ball in touching down so the lead remained at four.
The crowd roared as Burgess raced down the wing looking for his first senior try but put a foot in touch as he attempted to touch down as the Rovers defence was stretched but they were denied a try of their own ust after the hour mark as Hodgson went over only to be denied after he was in touch on the review.
Wigan extended their lead as Gelling went in with six minutes to go to put the score at 20-10 and a drop goal from Smith surely sealed the win at 21-10 but Hull KR were not accepting that as Tuimavave went over for a try and Dobson's goal created a tense final few minutes at 21-16.
David Hodgson came close to sealing a last gasp try for Hull KR but was tackled by great Wigan defence who put him in touch and meant Wigan held on for the win and and returned to the summit of Super League.
A really tight game from start to finish which was surprising given that Rovers had an extra week off but with no Sam Tomkins in the Wigan it created a balance and my prediction of a 18 point Wigan win was with Tomkins included and had I known of his absence would have gone for a closer win.