Wigan centre Iain Thornley wants more special Challenge Cup memories

Drew Darbyshire
Iain Thornley Wigan Warriors 2013 PA

Wigan centre Iain Thornley is determined to make more memories in the Challenge Cup after playing a starring role in the club’s last cup triumph back in 2013.

The 30-year-old is one of only two players in the current Wigan squad who played in their last Challenge Cup success nine years ago – the other being Liam Farrell.

Thornley scored in Wigan’s 16-0 win over Hull at Wembley as Matty Smith was named the Lance Todd Trophy winner.

The 6ft 6in centre describes that game as the biggest of his career, but he wants to add to those special memories when they face rivals St Helens in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Speaking to Love Rugby League about the 2013 final, Thornley said: “The whole week was good like the build-up and training.

“It was chucking it down on the day of the game so it made it hard for the ball to be thrown around. It became one of those games where it wasn’t as expansive as normal. I managed to get over in the corner early doors so it was a nice feeling.

“It wasn’t until late on when Sam Tomkins scored for us. It wasn’t a high-scoring game but we managed to finish it off and we were made up with it. The result is what we wanted so it was massive for us.

“I’ll remember it for the rest of my life”

“It is probably the biggest game that I’ve played in and one that I’ll always remember as well. All my family and friends were in the crowd so it will always stick with me. I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.

“When you’ve finished rugby these will be the moments you look back on in your career. Fingers crossed we have a good performance on Saturday and get to the final again and create some more memories.”

No place like home for Iain Thornley

Thornley returned to hometown club Wigan on a three-year contract ahead of this season from neighbours Leigh.

The Wigan academy product scored 30 tries in 45 games for the Warriors between 2012-15 before going on to play for Hull KR, Catalans Dragons and Leigh.

When asked if he regretted leaving Wigan so early first time around, Thornley replied: “A little bit to be honest. I was young at the time and it is part of sport and the business.

“When you look back on things and you think ‘what if I had stayed?’ or ‘could I have done this?’ – I’m probably just grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to come back and be in this position I am now. We are in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup and we are just 80 minutes away from making special memories.”

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