St Helens 30 - 14 Wigan Warriors (half-time 8-10)

Keiron Cunningham was a happy man yesterday evening, after his St Helens' side had successfully come through a stiff test against arch rivals Wigan at Langtree Park. Trailing narrowly at the interval, Saints stormed to a 30-14 victory in the second period, a result that sees them climb back to the top of Super League above Leeds Rhinos. The reigning champions are now in pole position to retain the title they won last year.

Boos for Flower

The game was played to a backdrop of intermittent booing, sparked by 'baddie' Ben Flower's every touch.

The Wigan player had been justifiably sent off in last year's Grand Final against the same opponents and the home fans were in no mood to forget and forgive his indiscretions, as he faced them for the first time since.

Tight first-half

As expected beforehand, the game was close throughout the first period with Wigan just edging the contest on the scoreboard 10-8 as half-time was reached. Dan Sarginson opened the scoring for Wigan, finishing off well in the left corner. Saints responded in kind with tries of their own through Adam Swift and Jordan Turner. The visitors rallied after that setback and Joe Burgess raced 90 metres for a try, following a poor pass from Travis Burns, ensuring that the 'Cherry and Whites' held that slender margin at the break.

Tries exchanged after the break

It remained a tight tussle into the second-half, with the home side scoring through Burns and the Warriors countering through Joel Tomkins to level the score at 14-14. Saints then opted to take a penalty, which Mark Percival converted to put them two points ahead.

Decisive scores for home side

St Helens proved to be the stronger of the two teams in the closing stages, as Wigan's defensive focus slackened, to allow decisive tries for Shannon McDonnell and Jon Wilkin.

Their 'sweet' victory was sealed by further penalties for Percival, putting the game beyond Wigan's reach.

Happy Saints' coach

Saints' coach, Cunningham echoed the thoughts of many of the fans afterwards, describing their second-half display as "ruthless" and adding that the team are now "in a really good place, I'm really pleased for them."

Saints' win was revenge for defeat to Wigan earlier in the campaign and propelled them a point ahead of Leeds. Wigan remain third and are now three points adrift of last year's champions.