Wigan Warriors 12
Tries: J. Tomkins, Burgess
Goals: Smith 2/4
Hull KR 16
Tries: Blair, Sio
Goals: Mantellato 4/5
Hull Kingston Rovers defeated Wigan Warriors 16-12 at Leigh Sports Village to book their place in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2011.
Maurice Blair and Ken Sio scored a try each while Josh Mantellato kicked four goals for the Robins, who were thrashed 60-0 at the DW Stadium by the Warriors only a fortnight ago.
Joel Tomkins and Joe Burgess scored Wigan’s tries, while Matty Smith kicked two goals from four attempts as the 19-time Cup winners crashed out of this year’s competition.
The Robins beat Wigan on the way to their one and only Cup triumph 35 years ago.
Wigan dominated the early stages of the match, putting Rovers under constant pressure, but the visitors were in defiant mood.
Dom Crosby thought he had given the Warriors the lead on eight minutes when he crashed onto Ryan Hampshire’s inside pass. However, Richard Silverwood sent the decision up to the video referees. Replays showed that the full back had knocked on Dan Sarginson’s palm down from Matty Smith’s high kick.
Shaun Wane’s side had just under three quarters of the possession in the opening ten minutes, but they couldn’t find a way over the Hull KR try line.
The Cherry and Whites did get their noses in front on 12 minutes courtesy of Smith’s penalty from 30 metres out.
The first try of the game came on the back of Rovers’ first penalty of the evening. From the resulting set the Robins were within striking distance of the Wigan try line, and Ben Cockayne’s offload on the right-hand side found Blair, who span away from Liam Farrell before beating three Wigan defenders to the line to put Rovers in front.
Wigan’s error count was on the rise throughout the first half, while Hull KR were completing their sets and forcing their opponents to return the ball from distance.
Four minutes from the break Kieran Dixon was penalised for a high shot on Hampshire, which led to Wigan’s first four pointer of the match. Smith and George Williams combined on the left and Joel Tomkins supported, creating an overlap which led to the second rowers sixth try of the season.
With the scores tied at 6-6 Hull KR were awarded a penalty ten seconds before the half-time hooter. Mantellato pulled his kick just to the right of the sticks, ensuring both sides went into the changing rooms deadlocked.
The start of the second half was error-strewn, with both sides guilty of frequently knocking on and dropping the ball.
Sam Powell was penalised for a late cannon ball-like tackle 20 metres from his own posts. Mantellato kicked the penalty to edge Rovers back ahead.
Five minutes later Smith drew Wigan level with a penalty of his own from just short of 30 metres out.
Just before the hour-mark, the excellent Terry Campese put a chip over the top of Wigan’s line that Aaron Ollett chased down. The ball ricocheted off Hampshire and Rovers regained possession and the tackle count was wiped clean. Taulima Tautai was caught offside a couple of tackles later, and once again Mantellato slotted over the penalty to restore the visitors narrow advantage.
Smith then sliced Wigan’s next penalty just wide of the right-hand upright, but just two minutes later Burgess crossed for his 15th try of the season. A quick pass from dummy half by hooker Michael McIllorum put the 20 year-old over, but Smith missed the conversion from the touchline.
With Wigan 12-10 up and just 12 minutes remaining, the Robins defiant defence managed to repel Larne Patrick close to the line as they survived back to back sets.
Sio scored the match winning touch down with just eight minutes left on the clock. Sarginson lost the ball ten metres from his own line after a tackle by Blair, and the former Parramata Eel scooped it up and scored, despite the best efforts of Hampshire. Mantellato converted to give Rovers a 16-12 lead.
Joel Tomkins almost forced golden point extra time when he dived for the right-hand corner, but Rovers’ defence was able to force him onto the touchline before he could ground the ball, an effort that typified the stoic effort of Hull KR throughout the game.
Hull KR will be in the hat for the quarter-final draw which takes place on Sunday 17th May after the Wakefield v Leigh sixth round clash.