Every rugby league final between Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves: and Wigan’s extraordinary record

Louis Chapman Coombe

13.1 miles, a 34-minute drive or a 10-minute train journey is all that separates two of the biggest clubs in British rugby league – however they will be even closer this Saturday as Wigan Warriors face rivals Warrington Wolves in the Challenge Cup final. 

The pair are two of the most decorated teams in Challenge Cup history. Collectively, they have featured in 52 finals (Wigan 33, Warrington 19) and lifted the famous trophy 29 times (Wigan 20, Warrington 9).

The clubs have only faced each other once in the Challenge Cup final, but they have battled it out for silverware plenty of times over the years. Here is a breakdown of every rugby league final between Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves – dating back almost 80 years!

1948 Lancashire Cup Final (Wigan 14-8)

The first ever meeting between the sides in a final came all the back in 1948, as they played out the Lancashire Cup final. The Warriors came out on top 14-8 that day at Station Road, starting their extraordinary record of beating the Wolves in finals.

1950 Lancashire Cup Final (Wigan 28-5)

The teams didn’t have to wait long for another go at each other in a final, as they faced off in the 1950 Lancashire Cup final. The Warriors again came out on top this time around, however the Wolves tasted silverware that year too as they lifted the Challenge Cup.

1980 Lancashire Cup Final (Warrington 26-10)

After a 30-year wait, the old enemies squared off in the 1980 Lancashire Cup final. After the previous Wigan wins, Warrington finally got the upper hand in this one as they came out 26-10 winners. This remains Warrington’s only win in a final against Wigan to date, however.

1985 Lancashire Cup Final (Wigan 34-8)

The teams were back in the Lancashire Cup final in 1985, however the likes of Shaun Wane, Mike Ford and Shaun Edwards steered the Cherry and Whites to victory at Knowsley Road.

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1987 Lancashire Cup Final (Wigan 28-16)

The final ever Lancashire Cup final between the sides took place in 1987, however just like the 1985 edition it was Wigan who came out on top. This was the start of the Cherry and White’s golden era, and the likes of Ellery Hanley and Shaun Edwards guided them to yet another win over Warrington in a final.

1987 John Player Trophy Final (Wigan 18-4)

The 1987 season was a huge year for the Warriors. They were on the cusp of a treble, and yet again they faced Warrington in a final. Tries from Henderson Gill, Dean Bell and Andy Goodway did the damage that day, as they downed Warrington in a second-successive final that season. This wasn’t the end of though in 1987 for either side.

1987 Premiership Final (Wigan 8-0)

The teams met again in the 1987 Premiership final, but just like the other two games, it was Wigan Warriors who came out on top. Goals from Henderson Gill and David Stephenson, alongside a Joe Lydon try, completed a fine Warriors treble that year, at the expense of Warrington in all three finals too.

1990 Challenge Cup Final (Wigan 36-14)

The only Challenge Cup final between the sides (at the time of writing). Wigan had a vice-like grip on the Challenge Cup during this decade, winning eight on the spin between 1988 and 1995, and the 1990 final against Warrington was part of this run. Tries from Ellery Hanley, Kevin Iro, Dennis Betts and Mark Preston were enough to secure a third successive Challenge Cup, and was yet another final win for Wigan over Warrington.

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1995 Regal Trophy Final (Wigan 40-10)

The first, and only Regal Trophy final between the sides yet again saw Wigan down Warrington. Wigan’s golden era was in full swing, and the likes of Va’aiga Tuigamala, Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah, Phil Clarke and Shaun Edwards guided the Warriors to yet more silverware as they thrashed Warrington in the final.

2013 Super League Grand Final (Wigan 30-16)

The first ever Super League Grand Final between the teams took place in 2013, however it had an all too familiar ending. Tries from Michael McIlorum, Josh Charnley, Pat Richards, Darrell Goulding and Blake Green steered Wigan to their first Grand Final win since 2010, but it also condemned Warrington to a second successive loss at Old Trafford.

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2016 Super League Grand Final (Wigan 12-6)

The year it probably was Warrington’s year. The Wire romped to the League Leaders Shield in 2016, however tries from Josh Charnley and Oliver Gildart ensured the Warriors continued their run of eight final victories in a row over Warrington. It also marked a run of four Grand Final losses in seven years for the Wolves.

2018 Super League Grand Final (Wigan 12-4)

The most recent meeting between the teams in a final came in 2018, as the Cherry and Whites lifted the Super League title. Tries from Tom Davies and Dom Manfredi guided the Warriors to their second Grand Final victory over the Wire in three years at Old Trafford, marking yet another win for the Warriors over their old adversaries.

Overall record in finals: Wigan 11-1 Warrington

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