Cunningham hails ‘ruthless’ Saints

Published: Saturday 13th June 2015 by The News Editor

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St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham believes his young team came of age with their 30-14 derby win over Wigan that took them back to the top of the First Utility Super League.

Saints trailed 10-8 at half-time but dominated the second half and took advantage of a series of errors by the visitors to run out comfortable winners at Langtree Park.

“In the second half we were ruthless,” Cunningham said. “You’ve got to bear in mind we were playing against the best side in the competition on current form.

“It was a real good yardstick to see where we were at as a team. We’ve been chipping away at the points in the last few weeks, just growing that belief among ourselves and I think we really came of age tonight.

“We’re in a really good place, I’m really pleased for them.

“There’s an awful lot of passion around this game. You feel you actually deserve more than two points when you come away with the spoils.

“You feel like you should just walk away and win the league with that. What a spectacle for rugby league!”

St Helens captain Jon Wilkin shrugged off a head wound to lead his side to their impressive win, scoring the last of their five tries after pouncing on a wayward pass near his own line by Wigan centre Dan Sarginson.

“Considering he’s a back rower playing seven, he was an absolute champion tonight,” Cunningham said. “He led from the front. I thought he was absolutely outstanding.”

Another player defying injury was hooker James Roby who played the full 80 minutes with bandages on both hands and proved to be a handful all night for his opponents.

“I always thought I was a pretty decent nine but I’ve never come close to this kid,” Cunningham said.

“There’s nothing like him in the competition. You take him for granted because he does that every week. He’s an absolute machine.”

It was still 14-14 when Joel Tomkins scored Wigan’s third try on 50 minutes, adding to first-half scores from Joe Burgess and Sarginson, but they were left to rue two blunders by full-back Matty Bowen which gifted second-half tries to Shannon McDonnell and Travis Burns.

“There are other areas I’m just as upset about,” said Wigan coach Shaun Wane. “It was a poor team performance and it’s a tough one to deal with.

“We just didn’t play in the right areas of the field.

“It was an awful performance, we just never got into an arm wrestle and came up with silly errors and penalties. I’m really disappointed that we didn’t challenge them in any area today.

“We didn’t throw anything at them apart from the first six minutes.

“Without a doubt the best team won and it hurts really badly. We’ve got to take it on the chin.”

Published: Saturday 13th June 2015 by The News Editor

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