Wigan have been crowned Carnegie Challenge Cup winners for this first time since 2002 after they defeated Leeds 28-18 at Wembley Stadium.
The Warriors exploded into life in the first minute with Ryan Hoffman making a break through the Leeds defence, although the Australian didn’t have the support to convert the move into points.
When Harrison Hansen forced Danny McGuire to kick out on the full on the last tackle, it gave the Warriors prime position to mount an attack. Wigan took full advantage by gaining good field position and spreading the ball out wide to Josh Charnley who finished well in the corner. Pat Richards failed with the conversion attempt from the touch line.
The warriors took full advantage 24th minute after Brent Webb knocked on from a high bomb kick. From the resulting scrum, Wigan moved the ball forward and crashed over through Jeff Lima after a short pass from Paul Prescott. Richards succeeded in adding the extras to put the Warriors 10-0 up.
Wigan then came up with the try of the game on the 28th minute after full back Sam Tomkins ran across the Leeds defence in his own 10 metre zone before releasing brother Joel who raced the length of the field to score under the sticks. Richards successfully adding the extras.
On 34 minutes Leeds were awarded a penalty after a high tackle on Rob Burrow. The Rhinos took full advantage of the field position with Ryan Hall crossing in the corner after quick hands from Sinfield and McGuire allowed Ablett to put the flying winger in for the try. Sinfield hitting the post from the conversion attempt.
Leeds clawed more points back after Jamie Jones-Buchanan made a 40 metre break down field to give the Rhinos prime field position to mount another attach. The ball was spread out wide to Burrow, who evaded tackles to pass to Watkins who then put Ben Jones-Bishop in to score in the corner. Sinfield superbly adding the two point conversion from the touchline to leave the half time score at 16-10 to the Warriors.
A Pat Richards knock on in his own 20 metre zone gifted the Rhinos great field position after 53 minutes. However Kylie Leuluai had a moment of madness and pushed Jeff Lima off the ball to give the referee no option to give Wigan the penalty despite Leeds being camped on the Warriors line.
The Rhinos had another opportunity minutes later after Kallum Watkins forced Ryan Hoffman to knock on just 10 metres from his own line. This time Leeds made no mistake with Carl Ablett scoring in the corner from the resulting scrum. Referee Phil Bentham referred the decision upstairs to Steve Ganson, who quickly awarded the try. Sinfield missed the conversion attempt to leave the Rhinos trailing by two points.
Wigan sprung into life moments later when Lee Mossop put Jeff Lima in for a try, with what looked like a forward pass. The big prop forward raced to the line to touch down for his second try of the game. Richards adding the extras to extend the lead to 22-14 in the Warriors favour.
Phil Bentham awarded Leeds a penalty on the 70th minute after Liam Farrell put in a high shot on Rob Burrow. The Rhinos pushed forward and a superb pass from Danny McGuire on the last tackle put Ryan Hall in the corner for his second try of the game. Sinfield missed the conversion attempt leaving the Rhinos trailing by four points.
Wigan won the game in the dying minutes when Leuluai crossed for the a try. The decision was referred to video referee Steve Ganson as it appeared as if the half back lost the ball when placing the ball down. However Ganson awarded a try, giving benefit of the doubt to the attacking side. Richards added the conversion to leave the final score at 28-18 to Wigan.
There was one final award to be handed out, the small matter of the Lance Todd Trophy which was rather surprisingly awarded to Jeff Lima for his contribution to the Wigan victory.
Webb, Jones-Bishop, Ablett, Watkins, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Hauraki
Subs: Burrow, Clarkson, Bailey, Kirke
Tries: Jones-Bishop, Hall (2), Ablett
S Tomkins, Charnley, J Tomkins, Carmont, Richards, Deacon, Finch, Lima, Leuluai, Coley, Hansen, Hoffman, O’Loughlin
Subs: McIlorum, Prescott, Farrell, Mossop
Tries: Charnley, J Tomkins, Lima (2), Leuluai
Goals: Richards (4)