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4 days ago
Leeds Rhinos 18
Tries: Hall 2, Jones-Bishop, Ablett
Goals: Sinfield 1 from 4
Wigan Warriors 28
Tries: Charnley, Lima 2, J. Tomkins, Leuluai
Goals: Richards 4 from 5
Man of the Match (Lance Todd Trophy): Jeff Lima
Wigan Warriors claimed their first win at Wembley for 16 years as they withstood a Leeds Rhinos fight back.
After last wining the cup in 2002, at Murrayfield the fancied Warriors were looking to extend their Challenge Cup record to 18 triumphs.
For Leeds this was the missing trophy, after wining three Grand Finals in a row from 2007-2009, they last tasted Challenge Cup glory in the last game of the Old Wembley in 1999. It was also a return to the scene where last year they lost to Warrington in a one sided game.
Wigan made a good start to the contest as they dominated the territory. A 70-meter run from Ryan Hoffman nearly created the first score early on. It was not until the 10th minute that they finally got their first points on the board when Josh Charnley went in at the right corner after a good flowing move; Pat Richards hooked his touchline conversion across the posts.
The next score did not arrive until 24 minutes when Leeds' full-back Brent Webb made a mess of a high kick, from the resulting scrum prop Jeff Lima scored by the side of the posts. Richards tagged on the extras.
Four minutes later, the warriors took complete control as they increased their advantage to 16-0. The Tomkins bothers combined with Sam setting up Joel who surged inside for a brilliant long distance score.
Howver, needing a response before the break the Rhinos awoke and sprung into action to hit Wigan with two quickfire tries to keep in the contest.
Skipper Kevin Sinfield was twice involved in the move which saw winger Ryan Hall score out wide. Sinfield hit the post with the conversion but moments later another flowing move saw Rob Burrow release Ben Jones-Bishop to score in the corner. Sinfield converted to make it 16-10 at half-time.
The first quarter of the second half was a tense affair as both sides made errors in trying to get the crucial score. On 60 minutes it was game on as Carl Ablett powered his way over in the corner, unfortunately Sinfield-who was having an off day with the boot-put the conversion wide as the Warriors lead was cut to 16-14.
Straight away Wigan got back some control as Lima stretched an arm out to score his second try of the game and crucially put them two scores in-front at 22-14.
But, with 10 minutes left, Hall set up a tense finish when he squeezed in at the left corner for his 24th try of the season.
Sinfield again missed the kick, leaving Wigan 22-18 in front but the Rhinos were on the march, only Sam Tomkins coming to the rescue act saving Wigan after Jones-Bishop's electric burst down the right gave Danny McGuire a chance.
The Warriors turned the tide for and clamed the Cup when Thomas Leuluai spotted the smallest of openings and dived over three minutes from time.
So for Wigan they now hold every piece of silverware in Super League, as the Challenge Cup will sit alongside the Super League trophy and League Leaders Shield they won last season.
And for Leeds it's a fifth Final defeat in twelve years as the great knock out competition still eludes them.
Leeds Rhinos: Webb; Jones-Bishop, Ablett, Watkins, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Delaney, Hauraki.
Substitutes: Burrow, Clarkson, Bailey, Kirke.
Wigan Warriors: S. Tomkins; Charnley, J. Tomkins, Carmont, Richards; Deacon, Finch; Lima, Leuluai, Coley, Hansen, Hoffman, O'Loughlin.
Substitutes: McIlorum, Prescott, Farrell, Mossop.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington)