Friday 15th March 2013, 20:00 - Round:7
|Ryan Hall, Joel Moon, Jamie Jones-Buchanan,||T||Liam Farrell, Iain Thornley,|
Kevin Sinfield 3,
Matty Smith 3,
Attendance: 15,524 Official: R Silverwood Venue: Headingley Carnegie Stadium
Wigan Warriors missed out on the chance to go top of Super League as Leeds Rhinos atoned for their humiliating 50-8 defeat last season in an uncompromising clash at Headingley.
It was the Warriors' second defeat of the season and once more came in the absence of England star Sam Tomkins, who missed out after picking up a dead leg in his club's last training session.
Clearly stung by their 32-8 home defeat at the hands of Huddersfield Giants a week earlier, the Rhinos were a side transformed and took an early lead with England winger Ryan Hall's sixth try of the season.
Evergreen scrum-half Danny McGuire split the Wigan defence with a neat dummy and Hall wrong-footed makeshift full-back Pat Richards to touch down.
The powerful Hall posed a constant threat to the visitors, particularly on the counter-attack, and full-back Kallum Watkins also demonstrated his danger as a broken-field runner to bring a try-saving tackle from the busy Richards.
Wigan clearly missed the creative skill of Tomkins but they struck back on 17 minutes when half-backs Matty Smith and Blake Green combined to get second rower Liam Farrell racing through a gap in the Leeds defence to claim his fourth try of the campaign.
With Richards feeling the effect of a knock, Smith kicked the goal to level the scores and then edged his side in front on 29 minutes with a penalty after Rhinos second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan was pulled up for foul play.
That score sparked Leeds into urgent action and Hall twice got on the end of accurate kicks from Kevin Sinfield to go close to adding further tries.
He failed to control the ball on one occasion and, just before the interval, reached the line only to be held up in a two-man tackle by Chris Tuson and Josh Charnley.
The misses could have been costly but Charnley undid his good work four minutes into the second half by spilling Sinfield's kick to the corner which gifted a try to Leeds centre Joel Moon.
Sinfield added his second conversion, which brought up the 3,500th point of his career, to make it 12-8 and the Rhinos ought to have scored again when substitute prop Ian Kirke burst clean through the Warriors defence but made a hash of the final pass to McGuire.
Leeds fluffed another clear-cut chance when Rob Burrow failed to take Moon's pass and Wigan almost scored when Richards broke out of his own half, with Watkins getting back to haul down the supporting Farrell just short of the line.
The pressure on Wigan's defence finally told on 57 minutes when Jones-Buchanan tore past some tired limbs for a third try and Sinfield's third goal opened up a 10-point lead.
It was back down to just four on the hour, however, when Smith and Green again combined well and Farrell's long pass enabled winger Iain Thornley to score at the corner of a ground which was his home two years ago when he played rugby union for Leeds.
Smith's touchline conversion ensured the game remained in the balance and Wigan almost snatched it in the final move of the match when Charnley chased Smith's speculative kick but knocked on attempting to regather possession.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals
Clean Breaks: 3
Forty Twenty: 1