Match Report as Wigan Warriors Under-19s lift the Academy Super League trophy after beating St Helens 22-10 at the DW Stadium.
Shane Eccles’ side came from behind at half-time to claim victory in the Grand Final on Friday night.
- Full-time: Wigan Warriors U19s 22-10 St Helens U19s.
Wigan Warriors Under-19s were crowned Academy Super League Champions after a 22-10 Grand Final victory over St Helens at the DW Stadium on Friday night.
After going into half-time trailing, with one try to show for their efforts from Amir Bourouh, Shane Eccles’ side came out the blocks fighting as they turned things around in the second 40 minutes with touch downs from Sam Halsall, Max Roberts and Ben Holcroft.
In what was their fifth-straight Academy Grand Final, the opening quarter of the game proved nervy for the table toppers, as the visitors looked in control and that pressure paid off, as Josh Simm made a mazing run through the Wigan defence to dive over and open the scoring. Lewis Dodd was on hand to add the extras to make it 6-0 after 15 minutes.
As the half went on, the home side started to grow into the game, with Roberts going close to getting Wigan on the scoresheet, albeit being stopped by full-back Jack Welsby on the line.
Eventually, the Cherry and Whites got their try, as hooker Bourouh showed great strength to force his way over the line in the 33rd-minute. Harry Smith was able to level things up as he successfully converted the kick.
With three minutes remaining of the half, the visitors edged their way back in front. Centre Nico Rizzelli stretched out to ground the ball after cutting back inside on the left. With Dodd unable to add his second kick of the afternoon, Wigan trailed 10-6 at half-time.
After the break, the Warriors came out the blocks fast as within two minutes of the restart they had their second try of the evening. Umyla Hanley played the ball into the hands of Halsall, who shrugged off the Saints challenge to go over. Smith successfully added the extras to put Eccles’ side ahead for the first time in the game.
The visitors came close to retaking the lead soon after, but the ball was just tipped out of the reach of Jumah Sambou down the left wing and Wigan survived.
With 11 minutes remaining, Wigan extended their advantage as Roberts went through a gap in the St Helens defence to dive over on the left side. Smith, once again, converted the kick as the hosts went 18-10 up.
In the final seconds of the game, Holcroft put the icing on the cake for Wigan as he forced his way over in the corner. Smith’s attempted kick went wide of the post but it didn’t matter as the final hooter sounded, and the Warriors claimed triumphant.
Wigan’s Academy side have now won three consecutive titles and Friday’s win was their 10th title in the last 12 seasons. That was the Warriors’ 17th win on the bounce and their 23rd of the year from 24 games.
Wigan Warriors U19s: Umyla Hanley, Cian Tyrer, Sam Halsall, Max Roberts, Ben Holcroft, Adam Holt, Harry Smith, Nathan Wilde, Aiden Roden, Ethan Havard, James McDonnell, Harry Rushton, Joe Shorrocks.
Interchanges: Jack Bibby, Amir Bourouh, Ben O’Keefe, Oscar Stone.
Tries: Bourouh (33’), Halsall (42’), Roberts (69’), Holcroft (79’)
Conversions: Smith (3/4)
St Helens U19s: Jack Welsby, Jumah Sambou, Nico Rizzelli, Josh Simm, Brad Holroyd, Owain Abel, Lewis Dodd, Kye Siyani, Paul Nash, Harry Brooks, Matthew Foster, Lewis Baxter, Sam Royle.
Interchanges: Keenan McDaid, Zack Lee, Harvey McDaid, John Hutchins.
Tries: Simm (15’), Rizzelli (37’)
Conversions: Dodd (1/2)
Referee: Neil Horton Touch Judges: Caitlin Beevers, Matt Charnock