ANY lingering side-effects of Wigan's Australian voyage were quickly cast
aside as they tore the Eagles apart yesterday.
The Warriors played
exhibition rugby against a very disappointing Yorkshire outfit,
unrecognisable from the side that produced one of the rare successes
against the Aussies in the recent World Club Championship.
Wigan had the best possible start leaping on to a couple of early
mistakes and from then on it was a one sided affair with the result never
The Warriors have now notched up 313 points in their last six Super
Scrum-half Tony Smith, who only joined Wigan after being courted by the
Eagles, again underlined his credentials for being named GB scrum-half
later in the year by grabbing his first ever five try haul, while skipper
Andy Farrell continued his magnificent goal-kicking feats by landing nine
from 10 attempts.
The result left coach Eric Hughes happy but a little surprised by the
"I thought this was a danger game because they came here with nothing
to lose. We were still suffering from the effects of jet lag while they
have had plenty of time to prepare.
"We didn't do a lot wrong and I was pleased that we kept them tryless
as one of our targets was to try and maintain our concentration for the
full 80 minutes." Henry Paul, slotting in at stand-off for the injured
Nigel Wright, had one of his better games of an indifferent season as
"Paul has gone through a loss of form, probably for the first time in
his life and he has been trying hard to put it right. We all know what he
is capable of and he showed it with a much better display."
Smith took the accolades for his five tries but was the first to praise
the rest of the team for their defensive effort.
"To score five tries was nice but it was more pleasing for the team as
a whole not to let them score a try. We have remained positive despite the
setbacks Down Under but this is ideal preparation for the return next
month. Our next two games are against London and Paris, teams that contain
The Warriors led 24-2 at the break and could not have wished for an
easier start when Jean-Marc Garcia fumbled the ball in the third minute
allowing Andy Johnson to dive over for the touchdown. The same player
dropped a pass seven minutes later and Johnson grabbed another try. Mark
Aston pulled two points back with a penalty but it was not long before
Paul broke and sent Smith over for his first try and just before the break
Mick Cassidy put Smith over again. Hot-shot Farrell kicked all four goals.
The second-half was one-way traffic with Smith collecting his five
tries, while Robinson twice and Radlinski also got in on the scoring act.
Eagles coach John Kear was clearly angry at his side's below par
"I am deeply embarrassed for the small band of supporters and the club
as a whole by our second-half performance. I am disappointed that a team
of mine capitualated, put up the white flag and let Wigan play exhibition
WIGAN: Cardiss, Johnson, Radlinski, Connolly, Robinson, Paul,
Smith, O'Connor, Talbot, Hansen, Haughton, Cassidy, Farrell. Subs: Koloi
(for Johnson HT), Holgate (for O'Connor 46), Tallec (for Hansen 77),
Lester (for Cassidy 51).
Sheffield Eagles 2
Andy Johnson (2)
Jason Robinson (2)
|Andy Farrell (9)