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Page last updated at 20:55 GMT, Friday, 1 July 2011 21:55 UK

Wigan 26-24 Leeds

Wigan (12) 26
Tries: Charnley, Hoffman, Richards, Carmont
Goals:
Richards 5
Leeds (18) 24
Tries: Hardaker 2, Jones-Bishop, Webb Goals: Sinfield 4

Ryan Hoffman try
Ryan Hoffman crashes over for Wigan's second try at the DW Stadium

Pat Richards' boot was the difference between the two sides as Wigan just saw off Leeds in another tense, dramatic thriller at the DW Stadium.

Leeds scented a shock when tries from Ben Jones-Bishop, Brent Webb and Zak Hardaker earned a 18-12 half-time lead.

Wigan added to Josh Charnley's early try with efforts from Ryan Hoffman, George Carmont and Richards, who kicked an ultimately crucial penalty.

But, after Hardaker's try, Danny McGuire's late effort was disallowed.

McGuire had what would have been a match-winning try chalked off for a knock-on four minutes from the end, on the evidence of video referee Steve Ganson.

But Leeds coach Brian McDermott had no complaints over Ganson's decision to rule out McGuire's late touchdown.

The Rhinos, who were held 22-22 after a thrilling late Wigan fightback at Headingley in April, defied their recent slump to push Wigan all the way.

After trailing 18-12 at the break, Wigan surged into a 24-18 lead with quickfire tries from Richards and Carmont.

But, sensing how tense it was, when his side were awarded a penalty on the hour, coach Michael Maguire sent out a message for Richards to go for goal.

Richards' slotting of that penalty, to add to the four conversions which earned him a 14-point individual haul, was the key decision.

It was perhaps payback time too for Richards, whose last-gasp missed penalty had earned Leeds a 27-26 victory in almost unbearable tension after Sinfield's late drop goal on the Rhinos' last visit to the DW Stadium last September.

Despite the tonic of another two tries from teenage winger Hardaker, the Rhinos' ninth defeat of the season leaves them in sixth, still searching for a win over the teams above them in the table.

Wigan remain just a point behind leaders Warrington, with an opportunity to go top if they beat out-of-form Castleford at the DW on Wednesday night.

POST-MATCH VERDICT

Wigan coach Michael Maguire:

"We definitely respect the opposition. That's why we wanted to take the two points to get that eight-point buffer. We had a good 15 minutes in the second half but I had it in the back of my mind that Leeds never go away.

"And they showed that tonight. It's always tough when we play against Leeds and we're prepared for that. But we were lucky to get away with it in the end.

"We lost a bit of control at times in the second half but it was good to get the 80-minute performance which was needed."

Leeds coach Brian McDermott:

"I've no real grievance. I can understand why they didn't give Danny's try.

"I thought we showed a lot of steel. Even when Wigan came back and gave us a couple of body shots just after half-time, we re-grouped and really put them under the cosh.

"We performed and gave ourselves something to hang our hat on and go into next week. But they're shattered. They invested a lot in that game, Jamie Peacock in particular. I tried to get him off the field but the message came back 'Leave me on, I'm going to win the game'."

TEAMS

Wigan: S Tomkins; Charnley, J Tomkins, Carmont, Richards; Finch, Deacon; Mossop, Leuluai, Lima, Hansen, Hoffman, O'Loughlin.

Replacements: Prescott, Tuson, McIlorum, Coley.

Leeds: Webb; Hardaker, Smith, Ablett, Jones-Bishop; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Delaney, Jones-Buchanan, Clarkson.

Replacements: Burrow, Bailey, Lauitiiti, Kirke.

Attendance: 16,426.

Referee: Thierry Alibert (Toulouse).



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