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3rd August 1997: Wigan 10 Canberra 50

Wigan Warriors v Canberra Raiders - 1997 Visa World Club Challenge Round 6.
Sunday 3 August 1997. Kick Off 6:35pm at Central Park.

Match Report from www.theboltonnews.co.uk

The fact that Wigan carry Britain's main hope of success in the Visa World Club Championship was put into sharp perspective yesterday.

They were annihilated by a superb Aussie outfit who although were in a different class have failed to qualify for the next stage of the competition.

The Warriors, who will play Hunter Mariners at home in the quarter-final in October, disappointed a large crowd who after last week's defeat of Canterbury were looking for more Aussie blood.

The Raiders were a far different prospect with Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley combining brilliantly at half-back to pose a threat that the Warriors could not contain. The defence took a stanglehold on Wigan and with their attacking options the Raiders had the power and speed in the three-quarters which left the home side clutching at thin air.

Coach Eric Hughes summed up the Aussie performance when he said: "They are a quality side and produced some superb rugby.

"But I was disappointed with the manner of our display in the second half when they scored four tries from our mistakes. We wanted to put on a show in front of our spectators but didn't. "I think the fact that we don't play against sides of this quality every week showed. When they break they seem to take the right option while we don't."

Despite the heavy defeat, for much of the game Wigan were in contention, until a disastrous final 30 minutes.

They made a poor start when Noa Nadruku nipped over after only two minutes and Dave Furner goaled but after quarter of an hour were on level terms when Simon Haughton burst his way through a couple of tackles to score and Andy Farrell added the goal. Soon after a Farrell penalty put them ahead.

But Canberra quickly hit back and Wigan's inability to defend close to their line was quickly exposed when Daley chipped ahead for Albert Fulavi to touchdown. Ken Nagas added another try before 19-years-old Royston Lightning, only called up this week, nipped in at the corner.

Farrell narrowed the gap to 10 points just before the break with another penalty and Wigan came out after the break firing on all cylinders. They put the Canberra defence under intense pressure but never really looked like scoring another try and when Ruben Wiki evaded two tacklers to score in the 53rd minute and Lightning added the goal the game was up.

It was then exhibition stuff as the Raiders romped home with further tries by Lightning, Ben Kennedy, Naga and Jason Burnham with Lightning adding another four goals.

One of Wigan's few plus points was the form of youngster Darryl Cardiss who produced a brave display at full-back in place of the injured Henry Paul. WIGAN: Cardiss, Robinson, Connolly, Radlinski, Johnson A, Smith, Murdock, Cowie, Cassidy, O'Connor, Haughton, Lester, Farrell. Subs: Holgate (for Cowie 27), Johnson P (for Murdock 35), Tallec (for Lester 55). Cowie (for Holgate 65), Hansen (for O'Connor 48).

Other Information

Attendance: 12,504

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