Wigan boss Wane issues Challenge Cup warning
Wigan coach Shaun Wane has told his side they must raise their game if they are to win a record 20th Challenge Cup when they face holders Hull in next month’s Wembley final Wane’s men won through to the showpiece match with a 2714 semi-final win over Salford at fellow northwest club Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Oliver Gildart scored two tries for Wigan in a match where Sam Tomkins was outstanding for the Warriors. “To get back to Wembley is fantastic, but we have got there and that is it, there is another job to do,” said Wane, whose side won the Super League title last season but lost in the Challenge Cup semi-finals to Hull. Cupholders Hull overpowered Leeds 43-24 in Saturday’s first semi-final and Wane added: “We are going to have to improve on that today if we are going to beat Hull.”
“This feels fantastic compared to last year, last year was tough to take,” he added.
Wigan shot themselves in the foot at times on Sunday, losing both Sam Tomkins and Anthony Gelling to yellow cards. But Willie Isa and Michael McIlorum both crossed in addition to Gildart’s double while Sam Tomkins added a late drop goalas he did in the previous round.
“We did 20 minutes with 12 men, which is unacceptable and something we will fix,” insisted Wane. “But I thought Salford did a great job in testing conditions, it just shows you what a great game rugby league is. “For us to get to Wembley is great and I am so proud for the fans because they will love it.”
There will be some interesting split loyalties in the Leuluai household for the final as Thomas’ dad James played for Hull FC and even scored two tries against Wigan in the 1985 Challenge Cup final.
But for Leuluai Jr-now in his second spell pulling the strings for Wigan — there is no doubting his own allegiance. “The old man played for Hull back in the day and I grew up there as a young fella, I can’t remember much about it but my sister was born up there so both clubs are a big part of our family,” he said. “But I am here for Wigan and looking forward to going there and playing Hull.
“It’s a special feeling to get to Wembley, we have had a bit of an up and down season but we have got a lot of quality and experience here and I think that showed today (Sunday).” Meanwhile Salford coach Ian Watson will now have to pick his side up for the Super 8s which begin next weekend after this loss despite tries from Greg Johnson and debutant Tyrone McCarthy.
“It was a big effort from our boys, but these are the games that we want to be involved in as a club and we will be involved in them again,” he said. “The more experience we can take from these games and learn on the run the better it is.”
He added: “We have to learn lessons from this and come back stronger, especially in the Super 8s. But we will be here again and now focus on what we need to do for the rest of the year.”