Rovers Send Wigan Packing Out Of The Cup
On this day ….. 15 May
Five years ago today, on 15 May 2015, Rovers pulled off a sensational 16-12 sixth round Challenge Cup win over Wigan at Leigh Sports Village. The win was all the more remarkable given that Rovers had lost 60-0 at Wigan only a fortnight before. Rovers welcomed back Terry Campese, Josh Mantellato and Dane Tilse in several changes from the side mauled so comprehensively.
Rovers’ resolve was clear in the opening stages, when Wigan threw everything they had at their defence but were held at bay. Wigan had an early try disallowed for a knock-on and twice they lost possession in crunching tackles whilst going for the line. The ‘home’ side opted to kick for goal when they were awarded a penalty, but their 2-0 lead was short-lived. After spending the first 15 minutes largely on defence, Rovers went on the attack, and a run-around between Campese and Ben Cockayne created an opening for Maurice Blair to force his way over for the opening try. Mantellato’s touchline goal made it 6-2 and Wigan handling errors enabled the Robins to keep the pressure on. However, Wigan finally breached the Rovers defence four minutes before the break, when Joel Tomkins charged over. Smith was wide with the conversion attempt and Mantellato missed a stoppage-time penalty to leave the scores level at 6-6.
After the break, Wigan continued to lose the ball at regular intervals, and Mantellato’s penalty put his side back in front. With the game becoming even more untidy, Smith and Mantellato traded further penalties before Burgess squeezed over in the corner to make it 12-10 to Wigan with 17 minutes to go. With just eight minutes left, Ken Sio punished Sarginson’s loose carry to win the ball and force his way over the line, Mantellato kicked his fourth goal from five attempts. In one last dramatic act, Tomkins almost won it with three minutes remaining, but heroic defending by Cockayne and Mantellato forced his foot into touch as he went over in the corner.
The Rovers side that night was – Ben Cockayne; Kieran Dixon, Ken Sio, Kris Welham, Josh Mantellato; Maurice Blair, Terry Campese; Dane Tilse, John Boudebza, James Green, Graeme Horne, Kevin Larroyer, Tyrone McCarthy. Bench: Greg Burke, James Donaldson, Aaron Ollett, Sonny Esslemont.
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