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Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Saturday, 28 August 2010 17:00 UK

Leeds 6-30 Warrington

Leeds (0) 6
Tries: Smith Goals: Sinfield
Warrington (14) 30
Tries: Atkins (2), Hicks (3), L Anderson Goals: Westwood (3)
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Warrington 'blitzed' Leeds - Briers

By Ged Scott
BBC Sport at Wembley

A hat-trick from Chris Hicks and two tries from Ryan Atkins helped holders Warrington retain the Challenge Cup in rampant style against Leeds.

But Lee Briers' clever kicking was the key to Wolves' victory, the veteran half-back proving an overwhelming winner of the Lance Todd Trophy.

Atkins crossed twice in the first half to put Warrington in control at 14-0.

Louis Anderson ran in Wolves' sixth try late on, winger Lee Smith's effort proving little consolation for Leeds.

Leeds had won the last four meetings between the sides but this time, in front of 85,217 (the highest Challenge Cup final crowd at Wembley in 22 years), the only boot that mattered was that of chief architect Briers.

The Welsh international ran the show to devastating effect to earn his man-of-the-match honour with an impressive 34 votes out of 40 from the Rugby League writers.

And his efforts were backed up by clinical finishing and solid defence on the all too rare occasions when it mattered, most crucially from Leeds old boy Richie Mathers.

On a day when the experts were predicting a nail-biting classic, after an early Leeds assault, it ultimately proved to be a cakewalk for Wolves - and a rare victory for coach Tony Smith over his former club.

Warrington showed just two changes from the team that started the 25-16 final victory over Huddersfield on the same stage 12 months ago.


Jon Clarke's timely return from an injury-hit campaign at hooker freed Michael Monaghan to play at scrum-half, meaning that Vinnie Anderson was on the bench - and big winter signing Richie Myler missed out on the 17 completely.

Leeds coach Brian McClennan's major selection issue had been whether to bring Carl Ablett straight back from suspension, but he opted to continue with Chris Clarkson at second row and leave a dejected Scott Donald out of his squad.

Leeds made the brighter start, Ryan Bailey, Keith Senior and Rob Burrow all being held up in separate darts for the line.

Bailey's was a bad miss, the big prop opting to try and bulldoze the brave Mathers out of the way, when a step either side of the Wolves full-back would surely have brought a try.

Instead, Warrington drew first blood after 14 minutes thanks to Briers' first touch of class.

Following centre Matt King's burst, Briers floated a beautifully lofted kick to the left corner, a bemused Brett Delaney mistimed his jump and Atkins stole in ahead of him to catch and dive over.

Ben Westwood pulled his first attempt at goal left of the posts but, just four minutes later, the now rampant Wolves were in for try number two.

After a Westwood burst to the line which fell just short, the ball was transferred rapidly down the line, Briers' long pass freeing King, who stepped back inside, fed Hicks and the Aussie winger dived over.

Westwood hit the left upright with this one, Warrington's season-long weakness on the kicking front leaving Leeds in touch at 8-0.

Warrington Wolves celebrate
Warrington celebrate one of their six tries at Wembley

But when Warrington ran in a third try four minutes from half-time, it already looked a long way back for the Super League champions - and this time they had a justified sense of grievance at the award of the try.

Mathers barged Ryan Hall out of the way, arguably illegally, as he waited to get his hands on a high bomb from Danny McGuire, and the ball bounced forward off Mathers' backside to be collected by Chris Riley - but no offside whistle was forthcoming.

Instead Riley, initially looking as if he too thought he might be offside, weaved his way downfield with a run that made ground to the halfway line.

From the play-the-ball, the Leeds defence was dozing as Atkins, from dummy-half, made a half break and suddenly found himself racing 40 metres to the line for his second try - his 15th of the season.

This time, Westwood slotted the extras from in front of the posts to earn his side a 14-0 interval cushion.

Almost from the restart, Warrington could have had it all but sewn up when they had two men chasing down Westwood's scrambled kick to the right corner.

But Burrow had the speed of both body and thought to get back and make an astonishing steal from King to prevent what had looked a certain try.

Rather than simply protecting their line, Leeds needed tries and although they responded briefly, forcing another great try-saving Mathers tackle to deny Brent Webb, they never came close enough.

McClennan concedes 'better team won'

Instead, the game was over as a contest 18 minutes from time when Briers launched another precise bomb to the right corner.

This time it was aimed for Hicks, who reacted more sharply than Leeds winger Hall to claim his second try of the afternoon.

Westwood even made the conversion from the right touchline to rub the Yorkshire side's noses in it.

Leeds finally responded, McGuire feeding Smith for a try in the right corner - to avoid the ignominious feat of becoming the first team to be held scoreless in a Wembley final since 1989.

But Warrington had the final word with two more tries, after a well-worked effort by Castleford-bound Wolves full-back Mathers was chalked off for obstruction against Westwood.

First Hicks cut inside to become only the sixth player to score a hat-trick in a Challenge Cup final with his 30th try of the season.

There was still time for semi-final hat-trick hero Louis Anderson to dive over for try number six and put the seal on shattered Leeds' embarrassment.

Leeds: Webb, Smith, Delaney, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Bailey, Clarkson, Jones-Buchanan, Sinfield.
Replacements: Diskin, Eastwood, Kirke, Ablett.

Warrington: Mathers, Hicks, King, Atkins, Riley, Briers, Monaghan, Morley, Clarke, Carvell, L. Anderson, Westwood, Harrison.
Replacements: Wood, Solomona, Higham, V. Anderson.

Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury)

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see also
Jubilant Smith targets double
28 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Hat-trick man Hicks praises team effort
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Warrington 'blitzed' Leeds - Briers
28 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Sinfield embarrassed by Cup loss
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McClennan concedes 'better team won'
28 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Challenge Cup final as it happened
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Challenge Cup final photos
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Wembley honours cancer battler Prescott
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Challenge Cup archive - Rivett scores four
27 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Challenge Cup archive - Gregory scores
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