Lightning strikes twice as Rovers hold on

Last updated at 12:44 19 May 2007


Wigan experienced a sickening sense of deja vu as Hull KR withstood a second-half onslaught to sneak home 12-10 and record their second victory at the JJB Stadium this season.

First-half scores from Luke Dyer and Ian Hardman gave Rovers a 10-0 interval

lead and, despite tries after the break by Trent Barrett and Pat Richards, the

Robins held on as Richards hitting the post with his second conversion attempt

ultimately proved decisive.

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Danny Ward

The visitors certainly would have had no fears arriving at the JJB Stadium,

having already won 26-16 here in early March.

Tries in the final 10 minutes of the half from Dyer and Hardman gave Rovers a

commanding interval lead and, although Barrett and Iafeta Paleaaesina inspired

the home side after the break, it was not quite enough to steal the points.

The tone was set for Wigan when Chris Ashton dropped the first bomb of the game

from Paul Cooke to give Rovers tremendous field position with barely a minute

gone.

Only bone-crunching defence from Thomas Leuluai stopped a rampaging Michael

Vella, while Mark Calderwood did well to deflect a clever kick from James

Webster shortly after, with the evergreen Stanley Gene lurking.

The Warriors were finding it hard to get any kind of continuity going in

attack, but quick hands from Leuluai and David Vaealiki gave Pat Richards a

sight of the corner, only for Hardman to force him into touch a yard short.

Wigan showed their intent when they were awarded a penalty bang in front for a

hand in the tackle on 15 minutes but to chose to run it to no avail.

Rovers adopted a more safety first approach when they were awarded a penalty of

their own six minutes later from fully 40 yards out, only for Cooke's kick to

fade past the posts.

It mattered not, though, as Dyer then walked through the tackle of Leuluai to

notch the first try of the night, the angle beating Cooke's conversion.

A jinking run by Leuluai briefly raised home hopes, and then Stuart Fielden did

cross the line, with three Rovers defenders on his back, only to be penalised

for a double movement.

Rovers were visibly growing in confidence at the seeming lack of ideas in the

Wigan ranks, and extended their lead six minutes before the interval through

Hardman.

Dyer dribbled the ball past a helpless Richards, and found the on-loan St

Helens man on his inside for the walk-in score, which Cooke goaled.

The Warriors needed a swift response at the start of the second half, and their

cause had not been helped by the arrival of the rain during the interval.

It did not seem to bother Barrett, however, and the classy Aussie stand-off

stepped up to the plate to haul his side back into it.

First he produced a super ball to get Joel Tomkins through a gap, although the

supporting Darrell Goulding lost the ball in the act of scoring.

Seconds later he put Gareth Hock through on the crash ball, only for full-back

Ben Cockayne to pull off an amazing last-ditch tackle a yard short.

Barrett clearly decided enough was enough on 47 minutes, this time dummying out

wide, barging through the defence and taking Cockayne over the line with him.

Richards added the extras to reduce the arrears to four points, but a knock-on

from Stuart Fielden in the next set halted the Warriors' resurgence, and a high

shot on Vella from Hock allowed Cooke to make it 12-6 to Rovers as the final

quarter approached.

A bulldozing 30-metre run from Paleaaesina, leaving four unfortunate Rovers men

in his wake, put Wigan on the front foot again, and Leuluai's long ball looked

to have put Calderwood in at the corner, only for the ball to slip through the

winger's hands and into touch.

A sublime chip over the top from Barrett was then only halted by a cynical

shoulder charge from Jason Netherton, who was extremely lucky to avoid a spell

in the sin-bin.

But, from the resulting penalty, justice was done when Richards reached highest

to pluck Leuluai's bomb out of the air and touch down - only for his conversion

attempt to hit the outside of the post to audible groans from the home fans.

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