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Leigh Leopards 6-34 Wigan Warriors: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

Wigan Warriors were back to their brilliant best tonight as they ran in seven tries to comprehensively win the Battle of the Borough.


Briscoe’s brilliant finish
It is not frequently mentioned how good Tom Briscoe is at scoring when he has an inch of space to work with. We saw it back at Wembley in 2020 and again tonight. The finish showed great awareness and strength but the set play was magnificent set play. It was a double blow for Wigan though as Jake Wardle was sin binned for a late hit on Gareth O’Brien.

Wigan strike back
However whilst down to 12 men Wigan had the better of the game all thanks to a brilliant 40/20 from Harry Smith. Now down field, a neat set play with Smith and Jai Field combining created just enough space for Bevan French to dummy over for his seventh try of the season.

Field and French shining
In different positions this week, Wigan’s two biggest stars were shining and Jai Field’s spark of pace was just too much for Leigh as he found enough space to score. Tom Briscoe tried his best to hold him up and it appeared that Field could have let go of the ball before he grounded it.

French flair
It was a substantial change moving Bevan French to fullback but it certainly looked to be paying off. Though here his kick was charged down, it bounced up for him with French carving through with great pace before kicking inside for Jake Wardle to score.

More to French than speed
It is often forgotten that Bevan French is a wonderfully skilled player as well as having pace to burn and we saw it tonight for Wigan’s fourth try when he caught and passed the ball in one move to gift Abbas Miski space enough to score.

Field gets in on the act
The second half had been all about French so Jai Field reminded everyone what he can do when he took advantage of over chasing defenders skipping inside and showing great speed to score under the sticks.

King’s crowning moment
Toby King crowned the win by grounding a late grubber kick after a brilliant break from Abbas Miski.

More brilliance to round off the game
Then try number seven followed with a lovely kick over the top for French who set up Miski for a second try.

Talking Points:

A very important improvement
A lot of questions have been thrown the way of Wigan to start the season but they have shown one very important aspect of a title winning side: superb defence and an ability to manage the arm wrestle. As we get to the end of the season, this will become more important.

Field and French at their best
Perhaps this is the way Wigan need to go for the rest of the season because moving Field to six and French to fullback brought the best out of them. They were back to their best tonight. There is a concern though over Jai Field’s hamstring.

Smith smarts
For all the focus on Field and French, Harry Smith was superb with the way he managed the game. His kicking game was sensational forcing goal line drop outs galore.

Late hits
We saw another example of a late hit being punished with a yellow card tonight as the clamp down on it continues. It has to be asked though whether it is a fair situation losing a player for 10 minutes when the tackle ended Gareth O’Brien’s night. Perhaps the 18th man should be more lenient.

Leigh blunted
We didn’t see the best of the Leopards tonight as they were restricted in terms of metres and meanwhile their attacking plays were well watched by Wigan. Lachlan Lam was almost marked out of the game and the loss of O’Brien didn’t help.

Player Ratings:

Leigh Leopards
17 Gareth O’Brien – N/A
2 Tom Briscoe – 7
1 Zak Hardaker – 7
4 Ricky Leutele – 6
5 Josh Charnley – 6
15 Ben Reynolds – 6
7 Lachlan Lam – 6
8 Tom Amone – 6
9 Edwin Ipape – 6
10 Rob Mulhern – 7
16 Oliver Holmes – 6
24 Kai O’Donnell – 6
13 John Asiata – 7
3 Ed Chamberlain – 6
27 Ava Seumanufagai – 6
14 Ben Nakubuwai – 6
18 Matty Davis – 6

Wigan Warriors
2 Bevan French – 9
23 Abbas Miski – 8
17 Kai Pearce-Paul – 7
4 Jake Wardle – 7
3 Toby King – 7
1 Jai Field – 9
7 Harry Smith – 9
14 Mike Cooper – 7
9 Sam Powell – 7
10 Liam Byrne – 7
11 Willie Isa – 7
12 Liam Farrell – 7
13 Morgan Smithies – 7
15 Kaide Ellis – 7
16 Ethan Havard – 8
19 Joe Shorrocks – 7
22 Brad O’Neill – 7

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