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Warriors destroy Hull
Richards bags a hat-trick as Wigan send a message to rivals
Wigan kept the pressure on Stobart Super League leaders Huddersfield with a 56-12 victory at Hull that will prove a timely reminder for their rivals.
Winger Pat Richards produced an outstanding performance, scoring a hat-trick and finishing with a 26-point individual haul in a crushing triumph which saw the Warriors outscore their hosts 10 tries to two at the KC Stadium.
In a battle between two of the leading sides in the table, Wigan reinforced their second position and looked every bit Grand Final contenders while Hull fell out the top four for the first time since last month after successive league defeats.
Three tries inside the opening 15 minutes gave the Warriors the platform to go on and record an emphatic victory.
Having taken the lead inside two minutes through Richards, the former Man of Steel winner soon doubled the Warriors' advantage, touching down one handed after rounding opposite number Will Sharp on the last tackle.
Hull had gone into the match missing a host of first-team players including their half-back duo of Brett Seymour and Richard Horne.
Forced into making changes to their side once again, they looked ill at ease in defence and the manner in which Gareth Hock crashed over the line for Wigan's third try despite having a collection of black and whites shirts around him will have worried home coach Peter Gentle.
Hull's impressive start to the season which had taken them as high as second at Easter has been built on a robust defence, but against a fast and direct Wigan outfit the meanest defence in the competition were having real trouble containing their opponents.
Steadying the ship, the re-introduction of prop Sam Moa alongside the old head of Lee Radford, back out of retirement once again to aid Hull's injury cause, the home side finally found their way into the game and began enjoying an equal share of possession.
However, unlike their opponents, Hull could not find a clinical edge within sight of the Wigan line and the Warriors made sure they paid for their profligacy with a further two tries inside the closing minutes of the first half.
First full-back Sam Tomkins touched down after chasing his own kick which was directed to the foot of the posts, then Super League's top try scorer Josh Charnley showed his pace in leaving behind England winger Tom Briscoe as he raced for the try line.
Any hopes Hull had of a turnaround in fortunes and change to the pattern of the match after the interval lasted just two minutes when with their first set of the half Wigan scored again, Richards completing his hat-trick with a trademark catch from a cross-field kick by Brett Finch.
A Michael McIlorum try soon after took Wigan to the 40-point mark but to their credit Hull would not lie down and hit back with two tries of their own from Jamie Ellis and Sharp.
That was as good as it got for Hull, though, and a second try for Charnley followed by late score for Thomas Leuluai and Finch concluded a thoroughly one-sided affair.
Richards limped off in the second-half but hopes are that a knee injury is only minor.
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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