19 Apr 2019

Saints win derby day

A hat-trick of tries from Wales winger Regan Grace was the highlight of St Helens’ impressive 36-10 victory over Wigan Warriors in the Good Friday derby at the DW Stadium.

James Roby, Tommy Makinson and Lachlan Coote also crossed for Saints, who moved four points clear at the top of Betfred Super League following Warrington Wolves' defeat to Salford Red Devils.

Zak Hardaker and George Williams scored tries for Wigan, but the struggling Warriors equalled the worst start by a reigning champion and are level on points with bottom-placed London Broncos.

To make matters worse for Wigan, they also lost Tom Davies and Jake Shorrocks to injury.

A season’s best attendance of 22,050 witnessed a game that marked the retirement of Sky Sports rugby league commentator Eddie Hemmings after 30 years in the job.

Saints boss Justin Holbrook said: “Regan is playing really well. He’s finishing off some good tries, he’s exciting and he’s quick.

“He’s definitely capable (of playing for Great Britain) but there are so many good wingers in this comp. It’s up to the selectors and it’s early in the season but he’s more than capable.”

Saints’ front row of Alex Walmsley, James Roby and Alex Thompson look certain to make the squad for the Lions’ end-of-season tour to New Zealand and Holbrook says back-rower Morgan Knowles should join them.

“For me he’s the most underrated player in Super League, although he’s not underrated by us,” he said.

“If you talk about Great Britain tours, he’d be the first person I’d pick. Honestly, he’s that good.

“Right from the start of pre-season, he’s worked so hard and he’s such a pleasure to coach. Our whole forward pack is playing really well and he’s a big part of that.”

Wigan head coach Adrian Lam said: “It’s disappointing obviously. I feel for the team.

“Saints were very good, I think that’s the focus really. We knew it was going to be tough. Five didn’t train all week and Sarg (Dan Sarginson) pulled out today.

“When you play St Helens you have to be at best but we were never in the game. We got zapped of energy early and began chasing our tails.”