Tag Archives: loughlin

Tony Bellew fights through the blood to step closer to world shot

Bellew fights through the blood to step closer to world shot

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 17 November 2012

Tony Bellew survived a nasty cut to
jump a step closer to a world title shot with a unanimous decision win
over Argentina's Roberto Bolonti in Nottingham.

The fiery Liverpudlian was seeking
to build on his recent win over Edison Miranda as he looks to earn a
second bid for world honours.

Bellew had shown his world title
credentials in a premature and unsuccessful shot at Nathan Cleverly's
WBO light-heavyweight title last year and has been rebuilding towards
another crack since then.

Stepping stone: Tony Bellew celebrates his victory over Roberto Bolonti

Stepping stone: Tony Bellew celebrates his victory over Roberto Bolonti

He continued that progress at the Capital FM Arena with a solid win over Bolonti despite suffering a nasty third-round cut above the right eye which had initially looked potentially catastrophic to his hopes.

Tonight's scrap with Bolonti was essentially an eliminator of sorts for the WBC crown, with the body's inconsequential 'silver' belt on the line.

Evertonian Bellew, 29, had a record of 18-1 (12KO wins) heading into the bout while 33-year-old Bolonti (30-1, 19KO wins) was boxing outside Argentina for the first time.

Bellew provided the early pressure and landed a left which wobbled Bolonti mid-round.

Through the gate: Tony Bellew throws a punch

Through the gate: Tony Bellew throws a punch

A right to the top of the head then put Bolonti down, though the South American may have lost his footing.

He beat Victor Loughlin's count and survived the round as Bellew failed to capitalise, despite landing a big right.

The second round was all Bellew until a cheeky right from Bolonti gave him food for thought.

A left hook put Bolonti down in the third but again he rose quickly with a clear head.

He was certainly more wary as a result but things threatened to turn when Bellew suffered a bad cut over the right eye, thought to be from a Bolonti left hook.

Down and out: Tony Bellew knocks Roberto Bolonti down

Down and out: Tony Bellew knocks Roberto Bolonti down

The wound was far from superficial as blood flowed into the Englishman's right eye but Bellew at least had Mick Williamson, a renowned cutsman, in his corner.

A left hook to the body by Bellew punctuated a quieter fifth round with the Briton remaining patient safe in the knowledge Williamson had worked his magic on the cut.

Bellew landed a left uppercut in the ninth which was the best shot of the middle rounds while a left hook to the mid-section was correctly adjudged to have been too low.

A right uppercut seemed to hurt Bolonti and Bellew piled in, landing combinations for the first time in several rounds.

Tough test: Roberto Bolonti gets a shot in against Tony Bellew

Tough test: Roberto Bolonti gets a shot in against Tony Bellew

While the pace was slow and the action fractured, Bellew was winning the rounds with relative ease.

Another uppercut in the 10th led to another aggressive flurry but again Bolonti held it together.

At the final bell the fighters embraced, with both men claiming to have won. But the victory was clearly Bellew's, with scores of 120-106, 119-107 and 120-106.

England 48 France 4: Ryan Hall inspires rout in Autumn International Series final

England 48 France 4: Hall inspires eight-try rout in Autumn International Series final

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UPDATED:

19:46 GMT, 11 November 2012

Winger Ryan Hall grabbed four tries as England cruised to an impressive, if predictable, victory over France in the final of the autumn international series at the Salford City Stadium.

England ran in eight tries and skipper Kevin Sinfield kicked all eight conversions as they took their points tally to 172 in their three matches to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Great Britain's last World Cup triumph.

They were leading 48-0 until winger Mathias Pala scored a last-minute consolation try for the French to provide a minor irritation for England coach Steve McNamara on his side's last full international before the 2013 World Cup next October.

Burning bright: Kevin Sinfield (centre) lifts the trophy after England won the Autumn International Series final

Burning bright: Kevin Sinfield (centre) lifts the trophy after England won the Autumn International Series final

That is when the real business will start for McNamara's men but they can look back on their autumn programme as a job well done.

McNamara will be especially delighted with the renewed half-back pairing of Sinfield and Rangi Chase, who won his place back at the expense of Richie Myler, while loose forward Sean O'Loughlin, who missed last week's game with a hamstring injury, also marked his return with an impressive showing.

Hall took the individual honours with his scoring heroics which took his tally to 13 tries in 15 appearances and took him past a former Leeds winger, Mark Calderwood, into joint second place in England's all-time list.

Touching down: Sam Tomkins scores England's second try at the Salford City Stadium

Touching down: Sam Tomkins scores England's second try at the Salford City Stadium

Full-back Sam Tomkins, who went ahead of previous record-holder Alf Ellaby a week ago, scored two more to take his total to 16 in 15 appearances and extend his lead at the top.

With six part-timers in their line-up, it was always going to be a case of damage limitation for the French following their 44-6 defeat in Hull eight days earlier.

The return from injury of Jamal Fakir was meant to bolster the injury-hit French but he lasted only 13 minutes and, although he was able to return, he looked well short of match fitness.

The kick-off was delayed because of the televised tennis but England quickly made up the time, Hall opening the scoring after eight minutes with his first try, which was the 150th of his career, courtesy of Tomkins' floated pass.

Le Crunch: England's Jamie Jones-Buchanan (right) offloads the ball to team-mate Rob Burrow

Le Crunch: England's Jamie Jones-Buchanan (right) offloads the ball to team-mate Rob Burrow

Sinfield and Chase were also involved in the move, as they were with England's other two first-half tries.

They combined to get Tomkins dummying his way over on 24 minutes and enabled O'Loughlin to work Hall over for his second thanks to another cut-out pass that exposed the defensive weaknesses in the French threequarter line.

France had their moments in the first half, particularly through the promptings of hard-working half-back William Barthau, but England's defence was superb.

No stopping him: England's Josh Charnley scores the fourth try of the game against France

No stopping him: England's Josh Charnley scores the fourth try of the game against France

The hosts lost veteran prop Adrian Morley within 90 seconds of the re-start, following a clash of heads with team-mate Gareth Ellis, but they found an extra gear in the second half.

Ellis' long pass enabled right winger Josh Charnley to go over for his fifth try in just two appearances while Chase's cut-out pass got Hall over for his hat-trick on 46 minutes.

Tomkins then provided another demonstration of his clinical finishing to claim his second try before working Hall over for his fourth in glorious fashion.

Inspiration: Winger Ryan Hall scores one of his four tries on the night for England

Inspiration: Winger Ryan Hall scores one of his four tries on the night for England

Chase began the length-of-the-field move by collecting Thomas Bosc's grubber kick on his own line and Tomkins supported him before supplying the final pass to the Leeds ace winger.

The monopoly of scoring by England's outside backs was finally ended when replacement hooker Rob Burrow took Ellis' smart offload to scoot 40 metres to the line and Sinfield maintained his 100 per cent record with his eighth goal, taking his points tally for the series to 56.

The French were well beaten but they at least had the final say when Pala pounced on a loose ball over the England tryline to prevent a whitewash.

Dream team: England captain Kevin Sinfield (left) and coach Steve McNamara hold the trophy

Dream team: England captain Kevin Sinfield (left) and coach Steve McNamara hold the trophy

Wigan 12 Leeds 13: Kevin Sinfield sends Leeds to Grand Final

Wigan 12 Leeds 13: Sinfield's late strike sends Leeds to Grand Final after thriller

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UPDATED:

21:19 GMT, 28 September 2012

Kevin Sinfield booted the match-winning penalty three minutes from time as Leeds clinched victory in one of Super League's most remarkable play-off thrillers.

Wigan trailed 11-0 at half-time and looked well beaten as the ruthless Rhinos threatened to disappear out of sight.

But the hosts rallied after the break through Harrison Hansen’s try before Pat Richards crossed in the corner and landed a brilliant touchline conversion to put the Warriors 12-11 up.

We're going to Old Trafford: Leeds Rhinos' players celebrate their victory in the qualifying semi-final

We're going to Old Trafford: Leeds Rhinos' players celebrate their victory in the qualifying semi-final

Getting a grip: Wigan's Epalahame Lauaki holds off Leeds' Ryan Bailey at the DW Stadium

Getting a grip: Wigan's Epalahame Lauaki holds off Leeds' Ryan Bailey at the DW Stadium

However, Sinfield was on hand to book another Rhinos Grand Final appearance when Rob Burrow caught Wigan offside in a stunning finish.

Wigan were rocked before kick-off when Sam Tomkins withdrew through injury, but few expected them to lack so much direction during a first half in which they offered virtually nothing in attack.

Ouch: Brett Delaney is tackled by Wigan's Liam Farrell (left), Sean O'Loughlin and Jeff Lima (ground)

Ouch: Brett Delaney is tackled by Wigan's Liam Farrell (left), Sean O'Loughlin and Jeff Lima (ground)

Play-off masters Leeds clicked into gear to produce their most dominant 40 minutes of the season just when they needed it most, suffocating Wigan’s few moments of hope with a line-speed in defence that kept the hosts frustrated.

And just as Wigan appeared to be getting on top, Leeds landed the sucker punch. Leeds prop Jamie Peacock was penalised for interference but it was the visitors who struck from the resulting Wigan attack through Kallum Watkins’ 90-metre interception of Brett Finch’s pass.

No holds barred: Leeds' Kylie Leuluai is held by the Wigan Warriors' defence

No holds barred: Leeds' Kylie Leuluai is held by the Wigan Warriors' defence

Round of applause: Leeds fans celebrate their victory and reaching the Grand Final

Round of applause: Leeds fans celebrate their team's victory and reaching the Grand Final

Sinfield converted easily and knocked over two more goals in quick succession when referee Richard Silverwood ruled indiscretions against Hansen and Finch.

The hosts finally came to life when Thomas Leuluai fed Hansen two minutes after the restart, raising hopes of a comeback — which they came desperately close to completing.

Super League Dream Team announced

Wigan and Warrington players dominate Super League Dream Team

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UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 10 September 2012

Table-toppers Wigan and Challenge Cup winners Warrington provide all but four players between them in the 2012 Stobart Super League Dream Team, which was announced at Old Trafford on Monday.

Warrington prop Chris Hill, who was playing in the Championship with part-timers Leigh 12 months ago, has capped a remarkable debut season by becoming one of six newcomers to the prestigious mythical team chosen by a panel of journalists.

Dream Team members: Wigan's George Carmont, Josh Charnley, Gareth Hock, Sean O'Loughlin, Brett Finch and Sam Tomkins

Dream Team members: Wigan's George Carmont, Josh Charnley, Gareth Hock, Sean O'Loughlin, Brett Finch and Sam Tomkins

DREAM TEAM

S Tomkins (Wigan), J Charnley
(Wigan), G Carmont (Wigan), R Atkins (Warrington); R Hall (Leeds), B
Finch (Wigan), S Dureau (Catalan); C Hill (Warrington), J Roby (St
Helens), R Casty (Catalan), B Westwood (Warrington), G Hock (Wigan), S
O'Loughlin (Wigan).

The Wigan trio of Josh Charnley, who finished on top of the Super League tryscoring list with 31 touchdowns, stand-off Brett Finch and Gareth Hock make the line-up for the first time, along with Warrington centre Ryan Atkins.

The other newcomer is Catalan captain and prop Remi Casty, who becomes the first Frenchman to make the team since it was introduced in 1996.

Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins is one of four players making their third consecutive appearances, alongside his club captain Sean O'Loughlin, St Helens hooker James Roby and Warrington back-row forward Ben Westwood.

Wigan 54 Widnes 12: Warriors three points clear

Wigan 54 Widnes 12: Charnley hat-trick sends Warriors three points clear

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UPDATED:

21:53 GMT, 25 June 2012

Josh Charnley took over as Super League's leading scorer for 2012 with a 26-point haul as Wigan re-established a three-point lead at the top of the table with victory over bottom club Widnes.

England's new winger scored a hat-trick of tries to take his tally to 25 in 18 matches and also kicked seven goals to go past Hull's former Wigan forward Danny Tickle and Catalan Dragons' Scott Dureau to the top of the scoring chart.

It was all too easy for the Warriors as they cruised to a 13th successive win at the DW Stadium in a match that vividly demonstrated the gulf that exists between the top and bottom of Super League.

Hat-trick hero: Charnley (holding ball) scored 26 points

Hat-trick hero: Charnley (holding ball) scored 26 points

Stand-off Brett Finch also caught the eye with a brace of tries as Wigan gained ample revenge for their shock 37-36 defeat at the Stobart Stadium in March.

With skipper Sean O'Loughlin slotting effortlessly into the halves to offset the loss of scrum-half Thomas Leuluai with a broken leg, the Warriors resembled a well-oiled machine.

It took the leaders just two minutes to score the first of their 10 tries, with Charnley taking O'Loughlin's pass to cross at the corner.

A rout looked on the cards when hooker Michael McIlorum easily shrugged off the attempted tackle of Chris Dean to score a soft try and Brett Finch and Sam Tomkins worked the ball out wide for centre George Carmont to touch down.

Charnley's second goal made it 16-0 after only 13 minutes, but Widnes' former Wigan prop Ben Cross stopped the rot when he plunged over for only the second try of his lengthy career, just three weeks after scoring his first.

Patrick Ah Van added the goal and the Vikings enjoyed something of a purple patch as they set up camp on the Wigan line.

Stand-off Joe Mellor, who is on loan from the Warriors, would have added a second try following a break from halfway but for a terrific tackle from Jack Hughes, who gave his old team-mate a 15-yard start before hauling him down short of the line.

Wigan soaked up the pressure and struck with two more quickfire tries through substitute Paul Prescott, who took O'Loughlin's short pass to claim his first Super League touchdown for 12 months, and winger Anthony Gelling.

Mellor made amends for his earlier miss when he intercepted Finch's pass to scoot 30 metres for a try on the stroke of half-time, but Wigan re-established their 22-point advantage within two minutes of the re-start when Finch dummied his way over for a sixth try.

Welsh international Rhodri Lloyd was inches away from scoring on his home debut before Charnley showed his strength as well as pace to beat two defenders to claim his second try.

He completed his hat-trick on 67 minutes, pouncing after former Wigan full-back Shaun Briscoe failed to clear Tomkins' grubber kick, and O'Loughlin once more demonstrated his class to get Finch over for his second try.

Charnley has endured difficult times filling in for regular marksman Pat Richards but he looked full of confidence as he booted his seventh goal from nine attempts to bring up the half-century before Tomkins' went over for his side's 10th try.

Leeds 8 Wigan 50: Tomkins shines as shadow Warriors batter Rhinos

Leeds 8 Wigan 50: Tomkins shines as shadow Warriors batter Rhinos

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UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 1 June 2012

Shaun Wane sent a chilling warning to the rest of Super League after this one-sided rout, insisting Wigan will get better.

His side were missing six first-team
forwards but still thrashed their opponents and Wane said: ‘We haven’t
peaked yet. I don’t want to sound arrogant or big headed, but if I’m
speaking from my heart we haven’t got that killer instinct yet —but it
will come.’

Wig wham: Liam Farrell is congratulated on his try by Sam Tomkins (left) and Josh Charnley (centre)

Wig wham: Liam Farrell is congratulated on his try by Sam Tomkins (left) and Josh Charnley (centre)

He added: ‘Under the circumstances it was as good as we’ve been this season. To come to a tough place like this with our kids in and get that result, it’s a great effort.

‘Every now and then you get a special bond in your team and we’ve got it now. They need to enjoy it and embrace it, because it doesn’t come around all that often.’

Sam Tomkins stole the show in front of watching friend Rio Ferdinand, but this was a complete Wigan display. For Leeds, things look worryingly bleak and they now sit seventh in the table.

Tryn time: Wigan Warriors' Liam Farrell goes over to score

Tryn time: Wigan Warriors' Liam Farrell goes over to score

Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott said:
‘Wigan were on fire. They’ve done that to a few good teams recently.
They were very, very good. We don’t want to be on the end of this, but
at times you have to go through it. When we’ve been asked to play at a
certain level of skill and intensity, we haven’t come up with the
goods.’

The Warriors led from the third minute, Jeff Lima crashing on to Michael
McIlorum’s short pass, and Leeds simply had no response.

Searing breaks from Tomkins then laid on tries for Liam Farrell and
George Carmont, with Sean O’Loughlin and Thomas Leuluai also crossing as
the visitors established a 26-4 half-time lead.

It is only 12 days
since McDermott admitted he was ‘panicking’ over his side’s plight, and
this defeat raised more uncomfortable questions as well as boos from the
Headingley faithful.

Few answers were forthcoming after the interval, with Josh Charnley, Anthony Gelling, Leuluai and Brett Finch also scoring.
Ryan Hall’s double did nothing for Leeds’ respectability.

Three sent off in Magic Weekend brawl

Magic show, but a fighting finish: Three red cards shown after Wigan brawl

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UPDATED:

20:35 GMT, 27 May 2012

Three red cards and an all-in brawl at the Etihad Stadium marked the climax of the best Magic Weekend yet as Joey Barton's antics here a fortnight ago paled in comparison to rugby league's brutal physicality.

Referee Ben Thaler dismissed Wigan pair Gareth Hock and Chris Tuson, along with Shaun Magennis of St Helen's, after Hock's head-butting of Saints prop Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook sparked a huge fight with half an hour left of the weekend's final match.

Magic mayhem: Wigan's Gareth Hock and Chris Tuson were sent off after the brawl

Magic mayhem: Wigan's Gareth Hock and Chris Tuson were sent off after the brawl

Hock appeared to land at least three blows on McCarthy-Scarsbrook, with Magennis and Tuson exchanging punches.

Thaler took this advice from his touch judge, 'Magennis has copped him a beauty', before dispensing justice.

Wigan won the game 42-16, and boss Shaun Wane said: 'I don't know how it started, but to get three sent off, I was surprised at that. It's a tough call, but Ben's a quality referee.

'We dealt with it superbly once it happened. You can't prepare for being down to 11 – it's just all hands on deck and defend as best you can. It shows heart and honesty, and our team spirit is the best I've ever seen.'

Sad end: Chris Tuson (centre) and Shaun Magennis (right) of land punches

Sad end: Chris Tuson (centre) and Shaun Magennis (right) of land punches

Hock, who finished last year with a five-match ban, now faces the prospect of another suspension.

Wane added: 'He's no angel, but whatever happens we'll deal with it.'

Wigan had long sealed the points before all hell broke loose, with Sam Tomkins' early contributions as dazzling as his bright orange boots. He scored twice, including a sensational 50-metre effort, to help Warriors race into a 30-6 half-time lead.

Josh Charnley also grabbed a brace, either side of Sean O'Loughlin's try, George Carmont and Liam Farrell maintaining the momentum after the break.

Ugly flashpoint: Chris Tuson (centre) and Shaun Magennis (right) go at it

Ugly flashpoint: Chris Tuson (centre) and Shaun Magennis (right) go at it

Saints coach Mike Rush said: 'I don't know what started it, but tempers certainly went. No doubt we'll all be at Red Hall on Tuesday (for the disciplinary hearing).'

It was an enthralling end to a positive weekend. In its sixth season, the Magic Weekend finally showed the potential RFL bosses have been chasing.

They were helped by a glorious weekend of sun and a retreat to the north, rather than previous venues of Cardiff and Edinburgh.

A record crowd of 63,716 looks set to guarantee the concept's immediate future despite its illogical nature as an 'invented' round of fixtures.

And as long as rugby league can produce talents like Tomkins and Danny McGuire, the weekend's two dominant figures, few will doubt the sport's future.

Five star: Leeds Rhino Danny McGuire scored five tries

Five star: Leeds Rhino Danny McGuire scored five tries

Leeds stand-off McGuire scored five tries for the first time in eight years to continue the Rhinos' record as the only team to have won at every Magic Weekend.

Six days after Brian McDermott admitted to 'panicking' over his side's plight, McGuire cruised home for a first-half hat-trick and then poached two more after the break to help secure a 37-22 win over Bradford.

McGuire said: 'I had younger and quicker legs the last time I did it (against Widnes in 2004), but the big thing was getting the job done. We needed to get back in the top eight. It was an important win.'

McDermott wasn't impressed though, and said: 'The amount of times we came up with soft decisions and errors was ridiculous.'

Remi Casty and Leon Pryce both scored twice as Catalan inflicted a 42-18 defeat on struggling London, while Adam Sidlow's late try gave Salford a shock 38-34 win over Huddersfield.

Wigan 18 St Helens 4: Warriors book place in semi-finals of Challenge Cup

Wigan 18 St Helens 4: Warriors book place in semi-finals of Challenge Cup

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UPDATED:

15:48 GMT, 12 May 2012

Wigan remain on course to successfully
defend the Carnegie Challenge Cup after grinding out a hard-fought
victory over arch rivals St Helens in scrappy quarter-final at the DW
Stadium.

Saints led 4-0 early on but were
gradually overpowered as they failed for the first time for 12 years to
reach the last four, leaving the Warriors to join last year's runners-up
Leeds in the hat for Sunday's semi-final draw.

On the run: Paul Wellens of St Helens gets between George Carmont and Brett Finch of Wigan

On the run: Paul Wellens of St Helens gets between George Carmont and Brett Finch of Wigan

With little to choose between the teams, Wigan were no doubt grateful for home advantage after finally getting the go-ahead to play the tie at the DW Stadium, where a bumper crowd lapped up a second derby victory of the season following their Super League triumph at Langtree Park on Good Friday.

Saints made the brighter start after being gifted an early attacking position through Anthony Gelling's handling error and James Roby caused havoc in the Wigan defence with his electrifying bursts from dummy half.

The early pressure paid off when centre Michael Shenton was the first to Jonny Lomax's kick and he fed the ball back for full-back Paul Wellens to touch down for the game's first try on five minutes.

Lomax surprisingly missed the conversion and Wigan drew level seven minutes later when Sean O'Loughlin and Brett Finch worked the ball out wide for full-back Sam Tomkins to scythe through the Saints defence.

Josh Charnley added the goal and almost extended the lead shortly afterwards after collecting Thomas Leuluai's high kick but he was stopped short of the line by Francis Meli and Wellens intercepted his pass to snuff out the immediate threat.

On the run: Sam Tomkins of Wigan looks to get past Gary Wheeler of St Helens

On the run: Sam Tomkins of Wigan looks to get past Gary Wheeler of St Helens

Saints could not clear the danger, however, and, after young centre Jack Hughes demonstrated his inexperience by failing to give Charnley a run for the corner, Wigan added a second try midway through the first half when a superb offload by centre George Carmont enabled O'Loughlin to go through a gap to touch down.

Wigan lost prop Epalahame Lauaki five minutes before half-time when he was knocked out in a tackle from Saints' former Wigan forward Mark Flanagan, but they still had enough firepower to retain their slender hold on the game.

The tie became scrappy as the error count rose and it remained in the balance until stand-off Finch found a hole in the Saints defensive line nine minutes into the second half and evaded last man Wellens to touch down.

The holders could have made sure of victory had Hughes's final pass found an unmarked Charnley but his finishing again let him down and the Warriors were forced to demonstrate their defensive mettle as St Helens mounted a sterling fightback.

The home side had a let-off when Saints centre Gary Wheeler lost the ball going for the line and that represented the visitors' last chance to get back into the tie.

Charnley's 67th-minute penalty from 40 metres out put his side two scores in front and finally ended the game as a contest.

Featherstone 16 Wigan 32

Featherstone 16 Wigan 32: Holders end brave Rovers' Challenge Cup run

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 27 April 2012

Holders Wigan survived an uncomfortable night at the Bigfellas Stadium to see off a brave but battered Featherstone to clinch their place in the quarter-finals of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.

Fresh from their euphoric 23-16 victory over Super League neighbours Castleford, Rovers eyed an even bigger scalp when they twice held the lead in the fifth-round tie.

The Championship part-timers managed to keep a tight rein on danger man Sam Tomkins and were still in the hunt until Warriors winger Josh Charnley went over for his 16th try of the season on 64 minutes to enable coach Shaun Wane to breathe easily.

On the way: Ian Hardman scored a first-half try for Wigan

On the way: Ian Hardman scored a first-half try for Wigan

Second-rower Gareth Hock then made sure two minutes from the end with his second try of the match but Rovers coach Daryl Powell will be mightily proud of his players' efforts.

The travelling Wigan fans sensed their team were in for a tricky night when forwards Jeff Lima and Harrison Hansen came up with early handling errors to put them under pressure.

Yet the holders went in front after only three minutes with a try from impressive skipper Sean O'Loughlin after Featherstone stand-off Kyle Briggs shot out of the defensive line in a vain attempt to intercept Brett Finch's pass.

Tomkins' successful conversion made it 6-0 but Rovers, who again demonstrated their ability to compete with the best, stung the holders with two tries in three minutes to take the lead.

Another handling error, this time from cup debutant Anthony Gelling, gifted the home side a perfect attacking position and Jon Hepworth reacted quickly to scoop on the loose ball for Liam Finn and Greg Worthington to get winger Tom Saxton over at the corner.

Brave challenge: Gareth Raynor celebrates after scoring for Featherstone

Brave challenge: Gareth Raynor celebrates after scoring for Featherstone

Wigan had barely recovered from that shock when former St Helens full-back Ian Hardman timed his run to perfection to touch down Finn's precision grubber kick to the line.

Finn's goal made it 10-6 but Wigan responded immediately to level, with centre Darrell Goulding taking O'Loughlin's pass to cross at the corner.

Wigan, who lost Hansen with a badly-cut face after he came off worst from a clash of heads with Rovers captain Stuart Dickens, had a Gelling try disallowed for obstruction and they slipped 12-10 behind after Finn put over a penalty.

The Warriors twice declined chances to equalise by running penalties within kicking range and the gamble paid off in first-half stoppage time when Hock ran at speed onto Finch's neat pass to cross for a 20-metre try.

Charnley added the goal to edge the visitors into a 16-12 half-time lead and Rovers were forced to reshuffle early in the second half after losing Saxton and Hardman to injury.

Battle: Liam Farrell of Wigan looks to break the Featherstone line

Battle: Liam Farrell of Wigan looks to break the Featherstone line

With O'Loughlin setting a superb lead, Wigan gradually got on top against visibly tiring opponents.

Charnley was thrown back from the line but the pressure finally told when scrum-half Thomas Leuluai stretched out of Jon Grayshon's tackle to touch down for a crucial score.

Charnley's touchline goal opened up a 10-point lead but Featherstone summoned up one last effort to keep their hopes alive.

Finn appeared to illegally steal the ball from Finch but referee Richard Silverwood was unsighted and the scrum-half raced 60 metres downfield to set up the position for Sam Smeaton to send his winger Gareth Raynor over for his side's third try.

Finn missed the conversion to leave his side trailing by six points and Charnley made sure of Wigan's safe passage on 64 minutes when he took Leulaui's long pass to cross at the corner.

Hock's second try rubbed salt into Featherstone's wounds, with Charnley kicking his third goal.

Wigan 36 Catalan Dragons 12

Wigan 36 Catalan Dragons 12: Warriors battle back to end French side's run

Wigan upped the ante in the second half to end Catalan Dragons' unbeaten start to the Stobart Super League season.

The French outfit did a league double over Wigan last year and came into the game with the league's last remaining 100 per cent record.

They also led 12-10 at half-time after Scott Dureau and Gregory Mounis tries cancelled out efforts by Thomas Leuluai and Pat Richards.

Wigan beat Catalan Dragons

Wigan beat Catalan Dragons

But Wigan youngsters Jack Hughes and Josh Charnley crossed to put the hosts back in front before Sean O'Loughlin's 75th-minute try sealed their fourth win from five so far.

Super League's top tryscorer Charnley then claimed his ninth of the season at the death, while Richards finished with six goals from seven attempts.

Hughes had spurned an early chance to cross, letting the ball slip from his grasp as he went for the line, so it was left to Dureau to open the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty.

A Catalan penalty allowed the Warriors to come straight back at them, Leuluai's grubber forcing a goal-line drop-out, and Brett Finch sent half-back partner Leuluai over in the 15th minute.

Richards added the extras but the Dragons replied with a superb effort, slick handling by Setaimata Sa and Vincent Duport on the blindside allowing Dureau to dive over in the right corner.

Thomas Bosc missed the touchline kick, leaving the score level, and a spear tackle by Mounis handed Wigan the chance to march upfield before Damien Blanch managed to force Richards into touch as the winger went for the corner.

The Warriors spurned another chance on the left moments later as O'Loughlin threw a wayward pass wide to Richards.

Duport halted Sam Tomkins' run towards the line after a high shot by David Ferriol but Jean-Philippe Baile was then made to pay for an incorrect play-the-ball deep in his own territory. This time Richards overpowered Blanch to cross from Tomkins' pass before hitting a post with the kick.

The Dragons rallied before the break, with a string of penalty decisions frustrating the home crowd.

Liam Farrell stopped Jamal Fakir just short before Tomkins halted Dureau down the right, but the visitors switched play to the left and with boos ringing around the DW Stadium, Mounis managed to reach over after going for the line from acting-half and Dureau added the extras.

Catalans forced a drop-out just after the restart but Wigan stood firm and would have regained the lead had they backed up Gareth Hock's break.

The Warriors kept the pressure on, though, and Chris Tuson's offload presented the opportunity for Hughes to charge onto Finch's pass and put Wigan back in front.

Penalties were beginning to kill Catalans and after conceding five on the bounce, Wigan swept the ball wide right for Charnley to cross in the 56th minute, Tomkins with the final pass.

Richards did well to prevent Blanch pulling a try back, forcing him into touch, before tempers flared after a high shot on Epalahame Lauaki as the Wigan forward tried to barge his way over.

The Warriors were awarded a penalty, which Richards kicked to open up a 12-point lead, and O'Loughlin backed up Michael McIlorum's break to stroll over before Charnley pounced on a late error for the final try, with Richards converting both touchdowns.