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Match Report: St Helens 12 Wigan 24
Posted by Bilko on March 26 2016 - 19:04

St Helens v Wigan Warriors - First Utility Super League 21 - Round 7
Good Friday 25th March 2016. Kick Off
3:15pm at Langtree Park.

Match Report

Wigan stretched their dominance of the Easter Derby to a seventh season with a magnificent display against a ramshackle Saints outfit.

I must admit I turned up, looking at the Saints bench including Alex Walmsley and James Roby, and thought that would be tough, especially with Sam Powell expected to do 80 minutes.

A strong bench was an obvious clear tactic from Keiron Cunningham but it actually failed miserably and in truth I think KC was heavily out-coached in this game. I mean from a Saints point of view I really don't understand why you keep Theo Fages out the team for most of the season then throw him into a big derby like this? How much is that a pie in the face for Travis Burns also?

I think all that bizarre and I think it contributed to Saints looking an absolute mess in this game. They were flattered to score twice in all honest.

Wigan though should take all the praise. The defensive standards have been immense all year and it was maintained again in this one. For the fourth time in seven league games we kept the opposition try-less until the second half and it was a three set defensive stand by us in the opening quarter that proved pivotal to the eventual outcome.

After that early Saints pressure, Wigan got up the other end and found three tries to take 0-0 to a 16-0 lead between the 20th and 31st Minutes.

The damage all came down the right with first Dom Manfredi ghosting through some weak tackling for the first score and then his diagonal run from deep set up the territory for Sam Powell to get on the end of his own grubber near the posts.

Then Joel Tomkins, playing for the first time this season, went through more awful defending on the right to cement that 16-0 lead, Matty Smith converting the latter two tries.

Saints were a bit shell-shocked but Wigan had to maintain that dominance by seeing off the time until the break, which they managed to do.

The second half began with both sides producing some very scrappy rugby. First try after the interval was always going to be important but Wigan did they right thing when they got a penalty shot in "taking the two" for 18-0 after 50 minutes.

Soon after that our defensive strength was tested to the max with a seven minute spell that saw us having no possession what so ever. Saints looked pretty clueless for ideas but we managed to hold out for 28 play the balls before the pressure finally told with Joe Greenwood crossing.

Given the pressure, you could hardly fault Wigan because they had held out for so long. However given recent collapses around the hour mark against Salford, Hull FC and Widnes it left me nervous for the final quarter.

A knock on from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook finally helped Wigan get some ball and they remained calm and composed enough to find a match clinching try. It fell for Matty Smith to go through a gap and final end a 27 match drought since he last scored a try away at Wakefield last April. He also converted for 24-6.

Saints never went away and found a late consolation through from Theo Fages. That still left a few jitters in the final ten minutes but it was the clock soon dwindled away to complete a good job all round by Wigan.

Dom Manfredi was man of the match for me, because his two breaks broke the game, but massive wraps have to go to Sam Powell. 53 Tackles he made and that highlights his dominance of the ruck area. Impressive that his best spell also was when James Roby came off the bench, topped off by his superb solo try. More of that please!

Also have to mention Taulima Tautai who's in good form recently and the shot by Nick Gregson to deny Kyle Amor a try late on. If that gets beaten for tackle of the year at the end of season awards then I don't want to miss a better one.

The only complaint, and it's harsh to complain to much after a performance like this, is that we didn't punch home our dominance on the scoreboard. We had 2-3 massive breaks second half that were not finished off.

You have to remind yourself that we do have key "pivots" missing like Sam Tomkins, George Williams and Micky McIlorum but it's still frustrating all the same. Shaun Wane said it himself after about us needing to be "smarter" because really I think this was more a 40-6 that a 24-12 and the Leeds came should have been a heavy win also.

Perhaps its good at the moment that we aren't firing in attack because it's keeping that superb defensive structure honest? Someone will be ripe for a spanking soon and looking at the Hull KR squad for Monday it could well be them.

Also it's worth remembering that we only picked up 9 points all season at away venues. We are already up to six points with up to 11 away games yet to play. That should hopefully help build some inner steel into the squad and with that I hope the confidence in attack builds in the team. We shall see what this win does for the lads.

Team Sheets

- St Helens Position Wigan 1
23 Shannon McDonnell Full Back Dan Sarginson 4
2 Tommy Makinson

Right Wing

Dom Manfredi 5
18 Dominic Peyroux Centre Anthony Gelling 3
21 Matty Dawson Centre Oliver Gildart 20
22 Jack Owens Left Wing Josh Charnley 2
19 Theo Fages Stand Off Sean O'Loughlin 13
7 Luke Walsh Scrum Half Matty Smith 7
14 Lama Tasi Prop Ben Flower 10
6 Travis Burns Hooker Sam Powell 16

Kyle Amor


Tony Clubb

11 Jon Wilkin 2nd Row Joel Tomkins 11
20 Joe Greenwood 2nd Row John Bateman 14



Greg Burke

8 Alex Walmsley Substitute Lee Mossop 17
9 James Roby Substitute Taulima Tautai 19
15 Greg Richards Substitute Ryan Sutton 21
17 Luke Thompson Substitute Nick Gregson 27
- Keiron Cunningham Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

St Helens 12


Wigan Warriors 24

Tries (2):
Joe Greenwood
Theo Fages


Tries (4):
Dom Manfredi
Sam Powell
Joel Tomkins
Matty Smith

Luke Walsh 2/2
--- Goals:
Matty Smith 4/5

Scoring and Incident Pattern

20mins:40 St Helens 00 Wigan 04 Try: Dom Manfredi
St Helens 00 Wigan 06 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (0/1)
25mins:09 St Helens 00 Wigan 08 Try: Sam Powell
St Helens 00 Wigan 10 Conversion: Matty Smith (1/2)
30mins:44 St Helens 00 Wigan 14 Try: Joel Tomkins
St Helens 00 Wigan 16 Conversion: Matty Smith (2/3)
Half Time St Helens 00 Wigan Warriors 16
49mins:58 St Helens 00 Wigan 18 Penalty Goal: Matty Smith (3/4)
59mins:49 St Helens 04 Wigan 18 Try: Joe Greenwood
St Helens 06 Wigan 18 Conversion: Luke Walsh (1/1)
67mins:20 St Helens 06 Wigan 22 Try: Matty Smith
St Helens 06 Wigan 24 Conversion: Matty Smith (4/5)
70mins:46 St Helens 10 Wigan 24 Try: Theo Fages
St Helens 12 Wigan 24 Conversion: Luke Walsh (2/2)
Full Time St Helens 12 Wigan Warriors 24


Robert Hicks

Penalties Conceded

St Helens 10 Wigan 10

Match Attendance

17,800 (Sell Out)


Sunny Afternoon.

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