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NRL-bound Richards stars in UK league semi

Australian Pat Richards said farewell to the DW Stadium in style as Wigan beat defending champions Leeds 22-12 in the Super League semi-finals on Friday to remain on course for a domestic double.
NRL-bound Richards stars in UK league semi
by AAP

By James Martin

MANCHESTER, England, Sept 27 AFP - Australian Pat Richards said farewell to the DW Stadium in style as Wigan beat defending champions Leeds 22-12 in the Super League semi-finals on Friday to remain on course for a domestic double.

Richards, who kicked three goals, was strutting his stuff for the last time at the home of Wigan ahead of his return to former club Wests Tigers next season, while Lee Mossop and Sam Tomkins were also bidding farewell ahead of their moves to the NRL -- the latter to New Zealand Warriors for a world record fee.

But the departing trio will don a Wigan shirt once more when they face Warrington at Old Trafford, the home of English football champions Manchester United, for the title on October 5.

Tries from Iain Thornley, Liam Farrell, Darrell Goulding and Josh Charnley proved too much for a Leeds side who managed two in reply through Joel Moon and Liam Sutcliffe.

Richards, who has spent eight years with the Warriors, also got in on the act as he as he set up the opening try and kicked three goals as Wigan kept the dream of the double alive, having already lifted the Challenge Cup this season.

Despite ending the first half on top, Wigan had just the one try to show for their efforts as they headed into the interval 6-0 ahead.

And almost straight after the restart they were made to pay as Carl Ablett broke away before setting up Moon, who began his career with Brisbane Broncos, for a try with Kevin Sinfield levelling the scores from the kicking tee.

But Wigan came straight back and retook the lead in the 52nd minute when Richards picked up a loose pass and the Warriors moved the ball from right to left before Farrell helped himself to his first try since May, despite the best efforts of Ablett in the tackle.

Richards again added the extras and the Wigan were well and truly back on the front foot soon afterwards when Watkins knocked on.

Watkins's error proved crucial as following the scrum Wigan grabbed their third try when Matty Smith's grubber kick was collected by centre Goulding who touched down, Richards adding the extras with 20 minutes left.

Leeds weren't about to lie down though and Rob Burrows released Moon.

But after the Australian had beaten Tomkins, the ball was knocked out of his hand with the tryline just metres away thanks to a great last-gasp tackle by Wigan's Harrison Hansen.

But with eight minutes left Charnley sealed a Wigan victory as he got in on the act, Sutcliffe's late try for the visitors nothing more than mere consolation as the champions for the past two seasons were dethroned.




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