Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Wonderful Wigan Defeat Vodafone Warriors

A steamrollering second half performance from Wigan sealed a 46-22 win at Waikato Stadium in the 'Clash of the Warriors' against the Vodafone Warriors.

Despite having arrived in Auckland on Monday, Wigan shrugged off any thoughts of jet lag with the opening try in the 2nd minute as Sam Powell picked out Jack Hughes who went over for the try and saw his effort converted well by Matty Smith for a 6-0 lead.

Wigan hit a second try in the seventh minute as man of the moment Joe Burgess went over for the try after nice work from Matt Bowen and Smith hit the conversion for a 12-0 lead. An array of penalties allowed the hosts to gain good field position and go over for their first score of the game as a clever run from Rapira allowed Nathan Friend to find Chad Townsend who scored a debut try which he duly converted to make it 12-6.

The Warriors scored again following the restart as Feleti Mateo breached the Wigan line and found the supporting Townsend who shipped the ball to Jerome Ropati who exchanged with Townsend with the latter throwing a superb pass for Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard to go over in the corner and give Townsend the chance to level the score but his conversion went wide and Wigan led 12-10.

Wigan had a brilliant chance to increase their lead but a combination of Powell and Smith found Bowen but he was found via a forward pass and denied a first try in Cherry and White. The hosts took the lead after Steve Wateford loft a pass to Peteru who made an instant impact from the bench and scored a try, Townsend converted to complete a 16 point streak for the hosts at 12-16.

Again the penalties and errors crept in and Wigan capitalised as Goulding went in down the right but sadly Smith failed to convert and meant a level score of 16-16. Wigan fumbled and the Warriors took advantage with a nice switching play that resulted in Townsend kicking a grubber for Friend to collect and score the try and another successful conversion made it 16-22 at the break.

Any worries that Wigan were tired after their long trip from the UK were quickly dispelled as they scored two quick tries to level and regain the lead. The first came as Powell kicked and saw a quick recovery find Burgess in the corner for his second try but Hampshire failed to convert meaning the Warriors still led 20-22 but Hampshire made up for the miss with a superb assist as Burgess completed his hat-trick but another missed conversion gave them a slender lead at 24-22.

Two further tries made it four without reply as Bateman supplied Dudson who scored his second try of 2014 and a successful conversion from Powell made it 30-22 with the number 19 getting lucky from a richochet to score a try of his own after a kick and in converting his won try, Wigan were in control at 36-22.

The hosts were in danger of falling away and in the rare time they did gain possession a mistake saw Manfredi collect inside the Wigan 10m line and run the length of the field unchallenged to score an easy try but despite a failed conversion attempt, Wigan now led 40-22 and on a run of 24 unanswered points.

Another flurry of penalties for the Warriors saw a resolute and strong goal-line defence from Wigan keep them scoreless after conceding three penalties in five minutes but it was Wigan who scored the final points as Bateman picked out Burgess who went over for his fourth try with Powell converting for 46-24 win and to seal a miserable second half for the Vodafone Warriors while giving Wigan a perfect ending in their preparation for the WCC against Sydney in ten days.