Painful memories of the Catalan Semi Final in 2007 left some wary
of this semi final but they needed have bothered because London
showed us all what a poor side they really are. Even the BBC showed
highlights of that Catalan match in their build up but it was never
on for the sad Broncos.
I genuinely can't
see how that London side could have done any better than what they
produced. Maybe a bit better discipline first half but overall they
were totally dominated up the middle.
The Broncos had high
hopes, but I'm not sure it was ever realistic. They lost 64-6 at
home to Wigan in May and 82-10 to Warrington not long after. It
would have been a hell of a effort to go from that to parity with
Wigan, never mind then making the bigger step to actually beating
This result certainly sharpens the daggers on London. My
personal opinion is that whilst the youth development down there is
fantastic and you cannot fault the investment by the owner - the
reality is that the playing squad is not top flight standard.
They chose to replace the inexperienced Rob Powell with the very
experienced Tony Rea and nothing has changed. They had 3 wins last
season, in the league, when Rob Powell was removed and at the same
point this season they also have only 3 wins. That tells you they
have massive problems there and it starts with the surroundings
they play in. Under the shadows of Twickenham is not, and has never
been, the place to be.
Anyway, for Wigan they move on to an
incredible 15th final appearance during the last 30 years and once
they had got past the early London enthusiasm they won at a canter.
Wigan actually started pretty sloppily. Two scrums saw the first
pass woefully off target but they got away with it both times.
First try for Wigan came on ten minutes. Penalty helped us down
field and from 30 metres out Darrell Goulding darted out of dummy
half. We went down the right wing but rather than finding Josh
Charnley, he stepped back inside past an awful tackle attempt by
Luke Dorn to score under the sticks. Pat converted for 6-0.
Ominous signs already of bad defence from London and I felt an
alarming lack of fitness also. Strangely Wigan's next attempt to
score came from a penalty goal attempt by Pat from over 40 metres
away, but it missed.
Once we got to the 20 minute mark the game
opened up for Wigan. The initial interchange period can often break
teams and so it proved for London.
Bang, Bang, Bang! Three back
to back tries moved the score pretty quickly from 6-0 to 24-0.
First of those came after a forced drop out and Lee Mossop went
through an huge gap to score, Dorn's last ditch tackling proving
Then, helped by a penalty, Sam Tomkins jinked
his way over the line from close range. I was only remarking not
long before on Wish FM that he'd been quiet, like I had done just
before he had scored during the Widnes commentary. Still quiet for
me overall in this game but we didn't really need him.
try was set up initially by another Goulding break down the right.
His pass towards the supporting Charnley was batted down by Soward
but Wigan got the penalty because Goulding shirt was pulled by Liam
Colbon to stop him gaining the loose ball. From that, a kick by
Matty Smith bounced nicely for Blake Green and he touched down
under the posts.
Only 24-0 with 54 minutes to go but I think we
all had this game written off as game over. London were shot and an
error in their own half helped towards Pat Richards gaining our
fifth try down the left. Just quick hands created a huge overlap
for him. Another conversion making it 30-0.
We backed that up
straight away as well. No penalties to help us this time. Green's
offload got Sean O'Loughlin away from 40 metres out and his
diagonal run towards the right saw him put Charnley over. Awful
tackling again from London but they did get a little grace with Pat
missing his first conversion of the day.
An error on that restart
from Wigan helped London finish the half strongly but they couldn't
find a way past resolute Wigan defending and that score was carried
into the sheds.
The only thing for Wigan now was how easy they
wanted to make this. Giving the Broncos an early score would have
encouraged them to fight, even though 34-0 was a long way back.
Wigan though got the first try and that made it easy for them for
the rest of this game. The try came after London had been penalised
for a high shot on Sam Tomkins, that turned out to be perfectly ok.
Now I will defend touch judge Robert Hicks here because from my
position I felt it looked awful also, so clear I thought it was
that I didn't even consider looking at big screen replays. But the
hit was shown to be on the chest. Bit of luck but you take it and
London again were guilty of bad defending. Nice initial burst from
Lee Mossop but it was Scott Taylor who crashed under the posts.
From the restart, Wigan were back on the attack. London had already
survived a Matty Smith chip over the top to himself, at the expense
of a drop out, just before he scored a great try with a quality
step back on the inside to leave Matt Cook dead on his feet.
Wigan were dominating possession and territory and found another
try on 57 minutes. Quick hands getting Pat in the left corner again
and now it was 52-0.
Tries for Liam Farrell and Iain Thornley,
both down the left side, took Wigan on to 64-0 but it was Josh
Charnley who rounded off the scoring, taking a lovely pass on the
inside by Goulding, to score his 100th try for Wigan.
then claiming his 100th Wigan try in his 91st Wigan appearance. Sam
Tomkins took 118 to reach that landmark. So for Josh to do that in
27 games less is quite an achievement.
Final score was 70-0
which is a biggest winning margin a cup semi final. They fell just
scored of biggest victory which was Wigan's 71-10 win over Bradford
in 1992. Richards however did claim a record for most points in a
semi final with his 30 point haul overtaking Frano Botica's 22
points in that same 1992 game.
Couple more notes here. Sean
O'Loughlin and Harrison Hansen were the key men for me. Outstanding
down the middle all game. Beasts! Pleased with Scott Taylor's
impact again also.
I also have to note Iain Thornley's defence.
Criticised by me before he was dropped but now he has a chance to
re-take his place with Gelling injured. Both had good shouts in my
view for the left centre spot at Wembley. Up to them to take it.
Finally my biggest praise its Wigan's will to maintain the nil in
the last five minutes. London had a dig to avoid it but we kept
going. Standards good there and I think we are in a good place
heading towards the end of the season. Key men fully fit and fresh
is a stark contrast to this time last season.