Newly crowned World Club Challenge champions St Helens continued their
winning ways by beating arch-rivals Wigan in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup
A packed house at Knowsley Road watched in delight as St Helens
withstood fierce Wigan pressure to run out 22-8 winners.
Captain Chris Joynt, who was the inspiration behind Saints' famous
victory over Brisbane, again led by example.
After 12 minutes, Wigan-born Joynt shrugged off Gary Connolly's tackle
to send St Helens winger Anthony Sullivan over for the game's first try.
Four minutes later, Joynt ran from dummy half to get past Terry Newton
and jink his way over for the 100th try of his St Helens career.
Sean Long converted both tries after missing with an early penalty.
At 12-0 ahead, Saints looked in control but then took their foot off
Wigan worked their way back into the game and were rewarded with a try
after 20 minutes.
Half-back Adrian Lam's high kick allowed Connolly to pounce and skipper
Andy Farrell's goal ate further into St Helens' lead.
Wigan had what would have been an equalising try disallowed when Saints
forward Sonny Nickle got his boot to the ball to prevent Newton touching
down Johns' grubber kick.
The tempo of the game was typical of a derby with both sides committed
but the uncompromising pace took its toll on both sides.
Wigan lost full-back Kris Radlinski with a dead leg while Paul
Sculthorpe was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured jaw and
several loosened teeth.
Wigan substitute Harvey Howard, making his debut, was put on report by
referee Stuart Cummings for a high tackle on Peter Shiels, who had
received a cut head in the first half.
St Helens kicked off the second half 12-6 in front but then had to soak
up heavy Wigan pressure.
Farrell kicked a penalty to bring the visitors within four points of St
But the pressure on Saints was eased when Paul Newlove stepped inside
two tackles on the left wing and put through substitute Tim Jonkers, who
put down in the corner.
Long kicked the conversion and Saints seemed to regain their hold on
Victory was sealed with a sensational length-of-the-pitch try.
Sean Hoppe beat three men deep inside his own half and off-loaded to
Long, who then threw an overhead pass to Anthony Stewart.
The Wigan-born player sprinted over in the right-hand corner to score.
Wigan coach Frank Endacott set his sights on success in Super League
after his side's cup hopes were dashed.
"It's early days yet and it's certainly not the end of the world," he
said. "We'll come back a lot stronger after this.
"There's another competition and we'll be looking forward to making the
Grand Final and this time winning it."
Saints boss Millward paid tribute to new Australian forwards Fairleigh
"We had 17 very good players but the two Australians showed why we
bought them," he said.