Warriors see off brave Rovers
Cup holders given a stern test at the Bigfellas Stadium
Last Updated: 27/04/12 10:10pm
Wigan Warriors booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Carnegie Challenge Cup with a hard-fought 32-16 success over Featherstone Rovers.
The hosts, who had knocked out neighbours Castleford in the last round of the competition, led 12-10 shortly before half time at the Bigfellas Stadium.
However the holders hit back before the break with a try through Gareth Hock and then comfortably kept their opponents at arms' length during the second 40 minutes.
Wigan had opened the scoring when captain Sean O'Loughlin collected Brett Finch's pass before side-stepping Ian Hardman with four minutes played, Sam Tomkins adding the extras.
Tommy Saxton touched down for Rovers after 19 minutes when the home side capitalised on a dropped ball from Anthony Gelling, although Featherstone needed the say so from the video referee.
Featherstone moved in front minutes later when Hardman was deemed to have grounded Liam Finn's kick, this time Finn booting over the two points to put Rovers 10-6 in front.
Wigan responded with O'Loughlin finding Darrell Goulding and he brushed aside Finn before touching down. Tomkins converted to level the scores at ten apiece.
The visitors suffered a blow on 34 minutes when Harrison Hansen was forced from the field of play with a nasty-looking facial injury following a clash of heads with Stuart Dickens.
Finn's penalty put Rovers back in front, but Wigan had the final say before half-time when Hock raced onto Finch's pass before ghosting over, this time Josh Charnley taking the conversion.
Wigan extended their lead after the break when Thomas Leuluai showed great upper body strength to reach out for the tryline. Charnley's successful conversion made it 22-12.
Featherstone were not about the throw in the towel, though, and responded with an outstanding try. Finn ran for over half the length of the field before a quick play-the-ball allowed experienced winger Gareth Raynor to go in over in the corner.
Gelling was unlucky not respond for the Warriors, but they were not to be denied minutes later when Charnley received Leuluai's long ball out wide before scooting over to effectively seal the win.
Wigan made sure their name would be in the hat for the quarter-finals when Hock added his second try of the game late on. Charnley made it three from four conversions of the night to complete the scoring.
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