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  Sunday, 17 March, 2002, 17:47 GMT
Wigan survive Leigh scare
Wigan's David Furner bursts through Leigh's defence
Wigan's David Furner bursts through Leigh's defence
Leigh Centurions 16-30 Wigan Warriors

Wigan came from behind to beat part-timers Leigh in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

The Warriors were made to fight all the way in a ferocious game at Hilton Park.

But the game was nearly called off in the second half by referee Stuart Cummins because of crowd trouble.

Bottles were thrown on to the pitch and Leigh could now face an investigation from the Rugby Football League.

The game was a stormy affair and seven men were sent to the sin-bin.


Fitnesswise we were always going to match them - and we more than did that
Leigh coach Paul Terzis

The Warriors ran in five tries but were not certain of victory until late efforts from Julian O'Neill and Dave Hodgson killed off the game.

Leigh, with a side containing five ex-Wigan players, scored tries through Jon Roper and Chris Irwin.

Wigan were given an early taste of Leigh's determination when Craig Smith was flattened by a powerful tackle from Rob Ball.

The big hits continued to come from both sides and tempers soon boiled over.

Warriors' Dave Furner and Leigh's Dave Bradbury were sent to the sin-bin for fighting and Leigh drew first blood from the restart.

Simon Svabic opted to run a penalty from inside the 20 and sent Neil Turley away after a quick tap.

He charged toward the corner and offloaded to send Irwin sliding over.

Wigan's Paul Johnson holds off a tackle
Turley then raised the roof with a brilliant touchline conversion.

Buoyed by that success, he scored another two kicks to send his side into a shock 10-0 lead.

Wigan had to wait until the 18th minute to get on to the scoreboard when Great Britain captain Andy Farrell took two quick tap penalties and forced his way in under the posts.

Indiscipline undermined Leigh's progress as they allowed Wigan to advance.

Mick Cassidy strolled through to level the scores from an O'Neill pass five minutes before the break.

Wigan continued to pile on the pressure forcing Leigh to drop-out.

Turley's kick failed to make 20 metres and the Centurions immediately paid the price as Dallas raced back down the line to score.


I was impressed by the way Leigh kept trying but I was not impressed by their tactics
Wigan coach Stuart Raper

Rowley was then sent to the sin-bin after a scuffle broke out during Wigan's celebration and the penalties continued to hit Leigh as Farrell added two more goals.

But the Centurions were far from done and Vila Matautia lit the blue touchpaper with a powerful break.

The ball quickly passed through three pairs of hands before Adam Bristow was stopped short.

Tempers again boiled over with Cassidy the next in the sin-bin and Leigh pressed on the accelerator to send Roper over.

But Wigan quickly restored their advantage as O'Neill went over for a great individual try following a clever dummy.

O'Neill then killed the game off by sending in Hodgson four minutes from time.


Leigh: Turley, Bretherton, Anderson, Roper, Irwin, Svabic, Swann, Ball, Rowley, Bradbury, Baldwin, Isherwood, Bristow.
Replacements: Whittle, Hamilton, McCulley, Matautia.

Wigan: Radlinski, Dallas, Ainscough, Johnson, Carney, O'Neill, Lam, O'Connor, Newton, C. Smith, Cassidy, Furner, Farrell.
Replacements: Hodgson, Howard, M. Smith, Bibey.

Referee: Stuart Cummings (Widnes).

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