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29th June 1997: Wigan 58 Sheffield 2

Wigan Warriors v Sheffield Eagles - 1997 Super League Round 14.
Sunday 29th June. Kick Off 3:00pm at Central Park.

Match Report from www.theboltonnews.co.uk

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 in doubt.

The Warriors have now notched up 313 points in their last six Super League games.

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 scoreline.

"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 Hughes admitted.

"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 mainly Australians."

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 performance.

"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 stuff."

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).

Wigan Warriors 58   Sheffield Eagles 2
Tony Smith (5)
Andy Johnson (2)
Jason Robinson (2)
Kris Radlinski
Andy Farrell (9)
Goals Mark Aston

Other Information

Attendance: 6,811

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