Wigan regained top spot in the Super League this evening after they eased past local rivals St Helens with a superb performance at The Stobart Stadium.
The game started in a cautious fashion with both sides keen to complete their sets and not make any errors. However Wigan got the breakthrough on the 14th minute after Lee Mossop crashed over to the left of the posts after a short ball from Thomas Leuluai. Richards adding the extras.
Richards then extended the lead with a penalty goal after Ref Theirry Alibert adjudged Chris Flannery held onto Sam Tomkins for too long in the tackle.
The visitors were enjoying the better of the possession and made the pressure tell with two converted tries in quick succession through Richards and Joel Tomkins.
Irish international Richards touched down in the corner after he jumped highest to superbly pluck Paul Deacon‘s kick out of the air.
It was Richards who was involved in Joel Tomkins try after Saints failed to deal with the winger’s high bomb kick. The hosts let the ball bounce, eventually landing in the hands of Josh Charnley who offloaded to Tomkins who raced 30 metres to score.
Saints struggled to put an attack together in the latter stages of the first half which left Wigan leading 20-0 at the break.
Wigan continued their dominance in the second half with Brett Finch forcing his way over after Michael Mcllorum scooted from dummy half to pass to the Australian who finished well.
St Helens managed to get on the score sheet after they forced a knock on from Charnley inside his own twenty. From the resulting scrum, Saints drove forward and after a few tackles, Tony Puletua buried his way over from dummy half. Thomas Makinson converted well from out wide.
With Michael Shenton down injured near his own try line, Saints went up field and closed the gap further with Makinson touching down out wide after latching onto a Lee Gaskell grubber kick. However Jamie Foster sliced the conversion attempt well wide.
Both sides made errors in the final quarter of the match and could easily have turned pressure and possession into more points. However it clearly wasn’t St Helens‘ night when Foster chipped through and appeared to be taken out off the ball, only for Ref Alibert to award a scrum to the Warriors.
Wigan did manage to score again before the full time whistle, Jeff Lima touching down after a neat kick through by Finch. Richards slotting over the two points to keep his 100% record intact.
Saints searched for more points and attacked in the final minute, but Flannery passed into touch, summing up the performance by the hosts.
Victory for the Warriors ensured they returned back to the top of the table, although Huddersfield can regain top spot if they beat Catalan tomorrow.
Final score: St Helens 10-32 Wigan