Leigh 16-30 Wigan: Warriors claim bragging rights

A masterclass from Bevan French helped Wigan maintain their perfect start to the Super League season as they fought back to see off Leigh 30-16.

French scored a try and set up two others as the Warriors notched their sixth straight victory of the season.

The Centurions have yet to win a game in 2021 and remain stuck at the bottom of the ladder.

For Leigh, Lewis Tierney returned to face his old team, with Matty Russell making way, while Wigan moved French back to full-back, with Zak Hardaker shifted to the left wing.

Mitch Clark was named on the bench, while Liam Farrell was moved from the centre back to the second-row.

The home side started strongly, forcing a goal-line drop-out in their opening set and they took the lead in the 12th minute when former Wigan centre Anthony Gelling dived over in the corner.

Ben Reynolds was unable to convert the try but Leigh continued their solid start by forcing another goal-line drop-out.

Midway through the first half, the Centurions crossed over for their second try courtesy of a barging run from prop Nathan Mason.

Reynolds made no mistake this time from right in front of the posts to push the lead to 10-0.

The Warriors responded when French was held up over the try-line and they pushed for a score but Leigh’s impressive defence kept them at bay.

Then in the 26th minute, a brilliant grubber from French was snapped up by Harry Smith to score, and Smith converted his own try to reduce the deficit even more.

Wigan were almost in again straight after but French’s pass to Dom Manfredi was ruled forward.

Moments later the visitors tried the same play and this time it worked as Manfredi dived over in the corner to level the scores nine minutes before the break as Smith’s conversion from the sideline was wayward.

The Warriors were dominating at this point and searching for another try and they finally took the lead as Jackson Hastings found French on an inside ball and the full-back stepped his way over.

Smith added the extras to make it 16-10 but – with seconds left in the half – Ryan Brierley put through a perfect kick for Jamie Ellis to scoop up and reply for the hosts.

Reynolds nailed his conversion to tie the scores 16-16 at the break.

In the second half, Wigan took the lead back after 47 minutes when Farrell touched down off Hastings’ pass, and Smith made it 22-16 with his successful conversion.

The away side increased their advantage when Jake Bibby crossed on the left flank 10 minutes later, but Smith was unable to add the extras.

The contest was slipping from Leigh’s grasp and soon Bibby was over again to complete his second-half brace.

Another smart pass from Hastings found the centre in the 60th minute and he crossed for his second.

Smith could not land his kick but the Warriors were comfortably 30-16 ahead, while Leigh failed to manufacture a response and continue their search for a maiden victory.


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