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Last years defeated finalists, Hull Kingston Rovers, were looking for a return to Wembley as they faced cup kings and twenty times winners, Wigan Warriors, in the first semi-final in Doncaster.

Hull KR won the 2024 meeting between the two sides at the end of April by a convincing 26-10 scoreline and the Robins came into the game determined to repeat last year’s feat of making it to the final and hopefully going one better than last season.

Wigan were the favourites with the bookies, KR being given an eight-point start on the handicap coupon, the odds perhaps being set based on last week’s Super League results.

 

With just over three minutes on the clock the Warriors registered the first points with Joe Wardle going on down the left wing after taking a miss-out pass and accelerating past the sliding Hull KR defence. Harry Smith was unable to convert from wide, but Wigan had set their stall out early.

Abbas Miski scored a miracle try on fifteen after a length of the field set which saw the winger leap to take a Bevan French kick to the corner, beating Ryan Hall, and drop to the floor to ground. Smith had another touchline conversion, this one hit the mark.

Mikey Lewis tried to kick start KR on eighteen when he chipped over the top and chased his own kick but was unable to ground before the ball ran dead in goal.

Just before the half hour Junior Nsemba took a neat pass from Smith to go through a hole in the KR defence for a simple walk-in try, Smith missed an easy conversion for a 14-0 lead, Wigan in total control.

Ryan Hall went close for KR on thirty-two but he lost control of the ball before grounding. But a minute after a mix up in the KR defence after a Wardle kick through allowed Liam Marshall to pick up the ball and offload for Miski to go in for his second of the afternoon. Smith missed the target again but at 18-0 there looked to be no way back for the Robins who were being systematically taken apart by a professional Wigan performance.

Returning the kick off, Harry Smith chased down a Marshall kick into the centre of the field to collect and walk in for a simple try. Adam Keighran took over the kicking duties and added the conversion that had been so elusive for Smith for 24-0 at the interval, Wigan already at Wembley after the opening half.

A Keighran penalty goal on forty-seven extended the Hull KR requirement to five converted tries and as they looked unlikely to score one, getting five unanswered tries looked like mission impossible.

With fifty minutes on the clock Joe Burgess did grab the opening points for KR after taking a delightful back door pass from Mikey Lewis. Lewis added the touchline conversion for 6-26.

It was brief respite for Hull as Wigan forced the error from the kick off and used their tackles for Tyler Dupree to take the ball and first receiver and drop over the line. Keighran was on target again for 32-6, the ‘blow out’ resumed.

On sixty-two and off the ball exchange saw a fracas which seemed to be initiated by Tom Opacic with the KR centre and Wigan’s Adam Keighran being sin-binned for their parts in the melee.

A Miski break and kick infield found Walters who threw out a long ball to Wardle to score again in the corner. Smith was back on the kicking duties and found the target for 38-6 to complete the scoring for the day.

This was a comprehensive win for Wigan Warriors over a Hull KR side for whom nothing went right and who appeared to have semi-final stage fright. It was a rugby masterclass from the cup kings who didn’t want to get involved in the Hull KR arm wrestle and who exploited every weakness that they exposed with total professionalism. Wigan secured the first spot at the Wembley final and will be joined tomorrow by either Warrington Wolves or Huddersfield Giants.

Hull KR: Evalds, Burgess (T), Hiku, Opacic (SB on 64), Hall, May, Lewis (1/1 G), Sue, Litten, Whitbread, Hadley, Batchelor, Minchella.  Subs: King, Parcell, Luckley, Tanginoa. 18th Man: Storton.

Wigan Warriors: Field, Miski (2T), Keighran (3/3G)(SB on 64), Wardle (2T), Marshall, French, Smith (T, 2/5 G), Harvard, O’Neill, Thompson, Nsemba (T), Farrell, Ellis. Subs: Mago, Walters, Leeming, Dupree (T). 18th Man: Hill. 

Half-Time: 0-24.

Full-Time: 6-38.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-8, 0-10, 0-14, 0-18, 0-22, 0-24: HT: 0-26, 4-26, 6-26, 6-30, 6-32, (SB), (SB), 6-36, 6-38 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Wigan.

Referee: Chris Kendall.  



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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 18th May 2024 3:41 PM | Views : 4452 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES