Match Report from Wigan Warriors’ Super 8s victory in Perpignan
Wigan run in six tries with Joe Greenwood (x2,), Morgan Escare (x2), Tony Clubb and George Williams all crossing the whitewash
- Wigan lost Liam Marshall to an early knee-injury
Wigan ran-in six tries in a dominant display in the South of France to beat Challenge Cup finalists Catalans Dragons 35-6 at the Stade Gilbert Brutus. Braces from second row Joe Greenwood, and former Catalans back Morgan Escare plus scores from Tony Clubb and George Williams proved too much for the Dragons on the eve of their Wembley appearance.
Shaun Wane continued with the 17-man squad that defeated Castleford Tigers in round 1 of the Super 8s last weekend. Sam Powell was retained at hooker, with Tommy Leuluai slotting in at halfback alongside England international standoff, George Williams. Youngster Oliver Partington retained his place on the interchange bench after an impressive outing against the Tigers on his Warriors debut.
Tony Gigot withdrew for the Dragons during the warmup and was replaced by Lucas Albert.
Wigan suffered an early blow when they lost Liam Marshall to an injury. After absorbing some early Dragons pressure, it was the Warriors who drew first blood when Joe Greenwood bludgeoned his way over from close range, collecting Sam Powell’s pass from dummy half to score. Tomkins converted.
The first half was a scrappy affair. With both sides being penalised at the ruck repeatedly, but it was Wigan who rose above the stop-start nature of the contest to take a deserved lead. The Warriors expertly counter punched their opponents scoring two counter-attacking tries from former Dragons’ favourite, Morgan Escare.
The first try Escare showed superb awareness to back up Sam Tomkins’ mesmerising break and his second, the French international was the beneficiary of some ‘generous’ play from his former teammates, as he swooped on a knock-on to race in unopposed.
The words from the Warrior camp at half-time was to build on their strong start, and when Tony Clubb spun his way over from close range, Wigan coach Shaun Wane must have been grinning from ear-to-ear. After Gabe Hamlin broke the line, only to be felled by Lucas Albert with the line in his site, Wigan showed composure and patience as they crossed via Clubb just a play later. Tomkins couldn’t add the extras in a rare miss from the kicking tee.
Trailing 22-0 in front of their fervent home support ahead of their Wembley appearance, the Dragons responded when Fouad Yaha collected Josh Drinkwater’s kick to score in the corner. Drinkwater converted from the touchline.
Any talk of a dramatic comeback from the home side was quickly extinguished when George Williams crossed from Wigan’s fifth try of the evening. It was Wigan’s best score of the night in truth, with the ever-willing Tom Davies and the quicksilver Morgan Escare combining from deep in the build-up to the try to launch another devastating Warriors counter. Escare was hauled down, but Williams showed his guile and speed to round the Dragons cover to score in the corner. Tomkins converted from the touchline.
On the hooter, Sam Tomkins sent over a drop-goal to round off a fine evening’s work for the Warriors.
Catalans Dragons: 22. Lucas Albert; 20. Lewis Tierney, 3. Iain Thornley, 4. Brayden Wiliame, 5. Fouad Yaha; 6. Samisoni Langi, 33. Josh Drinkwater; 10. Sam Moa, 19. Michael McIlorum, 23. Antoni Maria, 21. Benjamin Jullien, 34. Kenny Edwards, 17. Jason Baiteri
Interchanges: 11. Louis Anderson, 14. Julian Bousquet, 24. Alrix Da Costa, 32. Mickael Goudemand.
Tries: Fouad Yaha (49’)
Conversions: Josh Drinkwater 1/1
Wigan Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins; 2. Tom Davies, 19. Willie Isa, 3. Dan Sarginson, 22. Liam Marshall; 6. George Williams, 9. Tommy Leuluai; 25. Romain Navarette, 7. Sam Powell, 10. Ben Flower, 14. John Bateman, 40. Joe Greenwood, 30. Gabe Hamlin.
Interchange: 15. Ryan Sutton, 8. Tony Clubb, 20. Morgan Escare, 35. Oliver Partington.
Tries: Joe Greenwood (10’ & 69’), Morgan Escare (36’ & 39’), Tony Clubb (42’), George Williams (58’)
Conversions: Sam Tomkins (5/6)
Drop Goal: Sam Tomkins