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Wigan 21 Hull KR 16

Josh Charnley touched down twice as Wigan Warriors, aided by a controversial video referee decision, wore down Hull Kingston Rovers to reclaim top spot in Super League.
Wigan 21 Hull KR 16

Josh Charnley touched down twice as Wigan Warriors, aided by a controversial video referee decision, wore down Hull Kingston Rovers to reclaim top spot in Super League.

The Warriors winger scored at the start of each half in an influential display at the DW Stadium that also saw him set up Darrell Goulding and kick two goals.

But his second try, with the score at 10-10, was contentious and sparked much debate as to whether he had grounded the ball in the corner.

Wigan went on to secure the win through Anthony Gelling but Rovers, after earlier scores through Greg Eden and Michael Dobson, set up a tight finish through Evarn Tuimavave.

It was a much more competitive performance from Rovers after conceding 130 points to the Warriors in their two previous meetings this season.

They may have feared the worst against a side that ran up 70 points to reach the Challenge Cup final last week.

But the sight of a teamsheet lacking Sam Tomkins may have inspired them, with the Warriors having won only two of their previous 10 games without their star full-back.

Tomkins was ruled out with a virus and without him Wigan laboured for most of the first half, although they they started and ended it well to lock the scores at 10-10 at the break.

Charnley - once of Hull KR - showed his pace with a burst down the right to release Matty Smith in the opening minutes but the Warriors scrum-half was stopped short.

Rovers were forced into a change when Jordan Cox was hurt in a heavy tackle and, after lengthy treatment, helped from the field wearing an oxygen mask.

Wigan claimed the lead after 12 minutes as quick hands from Tomkins' replacement Ryan Hampshire created an overlap for Charnley to dot down in the corner.

The Robins were determined to stand up to Wigan this time and responded positively, forcing a dropout and applying more pressure before Dobson sent Eden over.

Dobson, who had a spell at Wigan in 2006, added the conversion to give his side the lead.

Hampshire broke from deep to set Charnley clear but one of a number of fine tackles from Eden on the night halted the winger short.

Rovers extended their advantage just after half hour when Dobson took a high pass in his stride and weaved his way through the Wigan defence to score.

The visitors then showed their resilience to keep Wigan out, stopping powerhouse forward Epalahame Lauaki on the line and preventing Dom Crosby touching down.

But they could not hold out until the break as they conceded in the final second of the first half.

Smith's clever kick wide bounced perfectly for Charnley and his pass inside gave Goulding a clear run to the line. Charnley's goal levelled at the interval.

Controversy erupted early in the second half as Charnley finished a fine move in the corner with a one-handed stretch for the line.

The winger was convinced he had held off Eden's attention just long enough to squeeze the ball down and, after lengthy deliberation, video referee James Child agreed.

Rovers may have had a case for believing the ball had brushed the whitewash, and so they may have feared the worst when Charnley claimed another in front of the deadball line moments later. But this time Child ruled David Hodgson's had been the first hand to make contact.

Wigan began to resemble something more like themselves as debutant Joe Burgess threatened to score on the left but again Eden defended superbly.

Rovers were frustrated by the video referee once more when Child could find no reason to award Hodgson a try in the corner.

Wigan held firm and made sure of victory when Gelling smashed through a weary Rovers defence with seven minutes remaining.

Charnley converted and Smith added the extra insurance of a drop goal.

Tuimavave crashed over to set up a tense final few minutes but Wigan were not to be denied.

Wigan Warriors 21
Tries: Josh Charnley 2, Darrell Goulding, Anthony Gelling
Goals: Josh Charnley 2
Field Goals: Matty Smith

Hull Kingston Rovers 16
Tries: Greg Eden, Michael Dobson, Evarn Tuimavave
Goals: Michael Dobson 2

Date: Friday 2nd August 2013
Venue: DW Stadium
Crowd: 12,194
Referee: R Silverwood
Half Time: 10-all

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