Sam Burgess makes Warrington Wolves vow following Challenge Cup final defeat

Ben Olawumi
Sam Burgess, Wembley

Dejected Warrington Wolves boss Sam Burgess applauds their supporters at Wembley following the 2024 Challenge Cup final defeat to Wigan Warriors

Warrington Wolves head coach Sam Burgess has vowed his young side will be better equipped the next time they reach a final having been comprehensively beaten by Wigan Warriors in the 2024 Challenge Cup showpiece.

The Warriors – who extended their record as the most successful club in the history of the competition with a 21st title – were 18-8 winners on Saturday afternoon with their tries coming from Zach Eckersley, Bevan French & Liam Farrell.

But that scoreline does little to reflect the dominance with which Wigan controlled the vast majority of the game under the arch at Wembley.

Having been 2-0 to the good early on following a frantic start which saw both teams lose a man to the sin-bin, Warrington‘s only response to the Cherry & Whites came through Australian full-back Matt Dufty, the same Wire ace who saw yellow from referee Chris Kendall.

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Sam Burgess makes Warrington Wolves vow following Challenge Cup final defeat

There’s no doubting that great progress has been made since Burgess took charge of the Wolves ahead of this season, taking on his first senior coaching role in the process.

His side sit 4th in the Super League table, with this really the first time they’ve been comfortably beaten during his tenure.

Trying to find the words to explain such a sub-par showing post-match in the capital, the 35-year-old said: “We’ve got a young squad and there were 12 players there tonight that have never played in a final.

“You’d like to think they’re going to be better next time… it’s experience for us as a group, a new group with a new coach. I wouldn’t say we froze, but probably the occasion got us a bit.

“We’re not going to be shaken by it. We made the final and there’s however many other teams who compete to be here, we’re here.

“We just had a bad day at the office.”

Burgess says cup final defeat ‘part of his development’ as well as his Warrington players

As noted above, Wire are currently 4th in the Super League table, and sit just two competition points beneath the top two in St Helens and their conquerors at Wembley, Matt Peet’s Wigan.

And with plenty still to play for, despite being dejected with the pain of a Challenge Cup final defeat still very raw, Burgess insists the Wolves will keep learning & growing as a unit.

He added: “Will it knock our confidence? No.

“Are we going to be disappointed? Yeah, of course we are.

“It’s only going to make us better in the long run. My players will be disappointed, which I expect them to be, but I don’t know how it can knock our confidence because we were in the final.

“It’ll just give us greater experience next time we’re here. Like them, it’s my first final as a coach.

“I look at myself, where I can get better, where I can improve and how I can get them better prepared. That’ll be part of my own development.”