Carnegie Challenge Cup Final
27 Aug 2011 - 2:30 PM
Leeds Rhinos 18-28 Wigan Warriors
Wembley Stadium played host to a genuine Challenge Cup Final classic as Wigan Warriors battled fiercely to a controversial 28-18 victory over Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.
Wigan’s giant second-rower Jeff Lima was an unlikely hero for the victors with two tries, having previously scored just one throughout the whole season.
But his second score, which came after 62 minutes, was a contentious one as there appeared to be a forward pass in the build up. But the try was given and Wigan moved into a 22-14 lead.
It was Wigan’s Thomas Leuluai who eventually scored the decisive try and again Leeds might feel hard done by after the decision to award the score.
There were questions as to whether Leuluai had grounded the ball with sufficient downward pressure but, after a lengthy referral to video referee Steve Ganson, the decisive points were awarded to Wigan.
The try secured the Warrior’s first Challenge Cup final win in 16 years, while Leeds are left to lick their wounds after a second successive Wembley defeat in the showpiece occasion.
12 months ago, Leeds suffered their heaviest ever Challenge Cup Final defeat when Warrington won 30-6 at under The Arch.
And they must have been fearing a similar afternoon after just 28 minutes when Wigan raced into a 16-0 lead after tries from Josh Charnley, Lima and a Joel Tomkins’ beauty.
But they managed to reduce the deficit with Ryan Hall, Ben Jones-Bishop and Carl Ablett all going over for Leeds.
Then Lima doubled his tally for the afternoon to put the buffers on the Leeds’ comeback – before Hall also scored his second try to bring the Rhinos back within striking distance.
But, with two minutes left on the clock, Leuluai squeezed over the line to seal the victory for Wigan.
Leeds: Webb; Jones-Bishop, Ablett, Watkins, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Hauraki.
Replacements: Burrow, Clarkson, Bailey, Kirke.
Wigan: S. Tomkins; Charnley, J. Tomkins, Carmont, Richards; Deacon, Finch; Lima, Leuluai, Coley, Hansen, Hoffman, O'Loughlin.
Replacements: McIlorum, Prescott, Farrell, Mossop.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).