Wigan took a clean sweep of all the trophies on offer in 1994-1995 to complete a
Grand Slam. In doing so they lost just two matches, both away at Leeds and
Halifax. Ironically Wigan scored more tries than their opponents in both defeats
but it was the goal kicking of ace kicker Frano Botica which cost them a 100%
record. However Botica still managed to beat his own goals kicked in a season
record despite missing 12 of Wigan's 45 matches.
Wigan Final League Position:
1st (Coach: Graeme West) Stones Bitter League Champions:
Wigan (16) Silk Cut Challenge Cup Winners:
Wigan (16 - 30-10 v Leeds) Regal
Wigan (7 - 40-10 v Warrington) Stones Bitter Premiership Trophy Winners:
Wigan (4 - 69-12 v Leeds) 2nd Division Champions:
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllleeeesssseee 1994-1995 Season Team Sheets List
London Crusaders were bought out by the Brisbane Broncos and became the
Towards the end of the season the Super League war broke out in Australia
when Rupert Murdoch tried to wrest control of the competition from the
Australian Rugby League. To gain an advantage he offered to inject 85 million
pounds into league in Britain in return for a guarantee not to play matches
against ARL teams. The result was a reorganisation of league in Britain.
At the end of the season the teams were reorganised into three divisions of
11. The Super League was formed from the top ten First Division clubs and the
London Broncos (highlighted in white on table). The new First Division was formed from the other top six Second
Division clubs and the rest of the First Division Clubs except Doncaster
(highlighted in blue on table).
Doncaster and the rest of the Second Division clubs formed the new Second
Division (highlighted in black).
With Summer Rugby on the horizon 1994-95 was the last full season of winter
rugby and it would turn out to be the greatest season of Wigan's long history.
They'd had so many great seasons in recent years but never had they won every
trophy on offer, until now.
The Grand Slam really began at the back end of the
previous season when Wigan won the world club challenge against Brisbane. Graeme
West was in temporary charge that night, following the sacking of John Dorahy,
but by the time 1994-95 come round he had been given the job full time.
Wigan opened the season with a 14 match unbeaten run, the only loss coming in
a Tour Match to Australia. The biggest test in the run came in Round 4 when
Leeds visited Central Park. Both sides came into the game with 100% starts but
Wigan were so dominant they routed the Headingley club 38-6.
Leeds would get sweet revenge by inflicting Wigan's first defeat of the
season with a 33-28 victory in mid December at Headingley. They defeat failed to
knock Wigan off the rails as they bounced back by winning the Boxing Day derby
at St Helens 32-25. In fact Wigan simply launched another unbeaten run which was
to stretch to nine matches between December and late March.
Whilst on that run Wigan were battling it out in both cup competitions.
Victories over Rochdale and Hull set up a Regal Trophy Quarter Final tie with St
Helens at Central Park. Saints made us work hard for a 24-22 win. A week later
they met Castleford in the Semi Final which revenge very much in their minds.
They hadn't forgotten the previous years 33-2 Regal Final defeat and duly
hammered them 34-6.
In the Final we met Warrington on January 28th 1995 at the newly opened
McAlpine Stadium in Huddersfield. It was a one sided affair which Wigan
comfortably won 40-10. Tries scorers were Phil Clarke, Jason Robinson, Va'aiga
Tuigamala (2), Frano Botica, Gary Connolly, Barrie McDermott and Martin Offiah
with Botica kicking 4 goals.
Two weeks after the Challenge Cup campaign got underway with a tough start
against St Helens. In the previous two years Wigan had got away with near losses
at Halifax and Hull, and this was another. Saints played brilliantly to claim a
13-13 draw, hitting the cross bar with a drop goal attempt from former Wigan
player Bobbie Gouldling in the dying moments. Wigan had not played well but
survived to force a replay at Knowsley Road, tries from Va'aiga Tuigamala, Denis
Betts and Martin Hall proving vital.
The replay was played just four days after the original tie and Wigan were
not going to play that bad again. They came out and showed their superiority,
winning 40-24. Tries came from Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah (3), Gary Connolly,
Phil Clarke and Henry Paul.
The rest of the campaign was much easier with victories over Batley, Widnes
and Oldham sending Wigan to an 8th straight final.
In the midweek after the semi final victory over Oldham, Wigan travelled to
Halifax in one of their games in hand. On a cold Wednesday Night they lost 16-18
in what would be Wigan's second and final loss of the season.
Revenge would come at the earliest opportunity as next match Halifax
travelled to Central Park. It was the first of four home matches in a row, which
ultimately would decide the destiny of the title. Wigan absolutely battered them
62-6. Further victories over Doncaster (44-4) and Bradford Northern (60-34)
meant Wigan had a chance to clinch the title in the Good Friday derby with St
Helens. The Saints fans had to suffer seeing Wigan not only win the title in
front of them, but also lift it at the end of a 34-18 win. So a sixth
consecutive league championship was won with two matches to spare. Wigan
finished on 56 points, seven clear of Leeds.
The 1995 Challenge Cup Final would turn out to be the last final of the
famous 8 in a row won by Wigan. The match was a repeat of the 1994 final, with
Leeds being the opponents. Wigan managed to win more convincingly than they had
done the previous year with a 30-10 win, watched by 78.550. Leeds had kicked an
early penalty before Wigan scored in the 18th minute as Jason Robinson finished
a great 35 metre run into the corner. He beat off three defenders in doing so
and Frano Botica's conversion made it 6-2. Henry Paul increased the lead on 26
minutes but Botica missed the extras that time. A penalty goal apiece made it
12-4 to Wigan at the break. Like they normally do in Wembley finals, Wigan
stepped up a gear second half. Robinson claimed a second try early on before
further tries from Martin Hall and Va'aiga Tuigamala cemented the win. Leeds got
a late consolation but it was too little too late.
So the League Title, Challenge Cup, Regal Trophy and World Club Challenge
were all locked in the Central Park trophy cabinet. That left just to
Premiership Trophy to complete the set. Wigan beat Sheffield and Warrington to
set up another final with Leeds, this time at Old Trafford. Leeds had been
Wigan's nearest rivals all season having finished second in the league but no
one could have predicted what happened in Manchester that May afternoon. Wigan
recorded the biggest score ever recorded in a Rugby League Final. They
embarrassed Leeds with a 69-12 victory watched by 30,160, which was actually a
sell out as development work limited the Old Trafford capacity. The match saw a
young Kris Radlinski emerge from the shadows of the academy into the first team
with a magnificent hatrick. Gary Connolly also scored a hatrick. Other try
scorers were Kelvin Skerrett, Shaun Edwards, Denis Betts, Henry Paul, Martin
Hall, Andy Farrell and Simon Haughton. Goal kicker extraordinaire Frano Botica
kicked 10 goals in what would be his last Wigan appearance.
So Wigan had won all five trophies on offer to them between June 1994 and
1995. A quite outstanding achievement considering they only lost 2 matches in
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