Wigan Warriors ground out a hard fought win in the Capital as they gained revenge over Harlequins 36-12 on Saturday afternoon at the Stoop.
It was a scrappy game, which wasn't aided by the hot weather, but ultimately it was the Warriors superior fitness and Sam Tomkins, switched to Full Back in place of Amos Roberts, that made the difference.
The Warriors travelled to London without Karl Pryce and Feka Paleaaesina who had been dropped to the Under 20's; Roberts was nursing the after-effects of last week's derby defeat and Andy Coley had stayed back in the North West to be at the impending birth of his new baby.
That meant that coach Maguire shifted Sam Tomkins to Full Back, started Paul Deacon at Stand Off and brought Ben Davies and Lee Mossop onto the bench.
Quins meanwhile welcomed back Full Back Ben Jones-Bishop who was playing his first game since suffering a depression of the skull at the corresponding game at the DW Stadium in April, when Harlequins ran out shock 38-26 winners.
In a tight but scrappy first half it was Sam Tomkins - looking a veteran at Full Back - who opened the scoring on just 6 minutes, chiming perfectly onto a Leuluai ball to step his opposite number Ben Jones-Bishop and score next to the posts in front of the travelling hoards of Wigan fans.
The proceeding 34 minutes were far from the classic witnessed just six days earlier, with spilled possession and refereeing decisions the central focus, however the Warriors managed to extend their lead on 25 minutes with a penalty goal by Pat Richards, from an offside offence, after Sam Tomkins had taken a high bomb with aplomb before racing 65 meters.
A 60 meter interception sprint by Thomas Leuluai, a 40-20 by Chad Randall and a Joel Tomkins sin-binning for dissent delivered an element of excitement as the half drew to a close, but with no additional scores it was Wigan who took an 8-0 lead into the Half Time break.
The Warriors were made to work in the opening 8 minutes of the second half, as they had little ball and defended resolutely with only 12 men. Just as it looked like the Quins could force their way over, the impressive Martin Gleeson pulled off a massive ‘hit' on winger O'Callaghan with Darrell Goulding picking up the spilled ball to race 90 meters to score under the posts. Richards added the extras to make it 14-0 after 50 minutes.
The Quins responded on 53 minutes as a Leuluai punt hit Quins' O'Callaghan in the face; Danny Orr picked up the ball to feed the winger who raced to score in the corner. Orr added the extras to make it 14-6 but the Warriors responded immediately, despite looking tired, as quick hands between McIlorum, Fielden, Bailey and Deacon returned the ball to McIlorum who scored under the posts. Richards' extras made it 20-6.
Sam's weaving run almost extended the lead, but he dropped the ball over the line, before the home team went up the other end, and with two kicks the ball eventually bounced into the hands of Jones-Bishop who evaded Tomkins to touch down. Orr's kick made it 20-12 on 62 minutes.
A trademark Wigan move, shifting the ball from right to left, created an overlap for Sam Tomkins to strike again; he in turn fed the ball to Richards who kicked past the Full Back and re-gathered to touch down. With Richards receiving some running repairs Deacon couldn't add the conversion, but Deacon made up for it just 2 minutes later as his bomb was collected again by Richards for a simple touchdown in the far left corner. He converted his own try to make it 30-12 with 10 minutes remaining.
As the Warriors superior fitness came to the fore, Full Back Tomkins was untouchable, and he started a scintillating set which eventually saw Liam Farrell wrap up the scoring in the final moments. Richards, who was impeccable with the boot, added the conversion to make it 36-12 at Full Time.