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Super League: Wigan Warriors beat Hull KR 34-20 as Iain Thornley grabs hat-trick
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Wigan got back to winning ways with a 34-20 home victory over Hull KR, but only after a sloppy first-half display that saw them concede four tries.
Iain Thornley helped himself to a hat-trick as they got the better of a spirited Rovers outfit and put last week's painful late defeat to Castleford behind them.
Things could have been very different if Rovers had not seen a Graeme Horne try chalked off just after the restart when leading 20-14, but it would prove a turning point as the Warriors rallied to eventually emerge convincing winners.
The hosts started like a train with two tries in the opening nine minutes. Thornley powered over in the corner with five minutes on the clock after a Greg Eden knock-on had given the Warriors good field possession.
Matty Bowen then registered his first home try in spectacular style as took a high kick, weaved past a couple of defenders and went the length of the pitch to score. But Wigan's goal-kicking problems in the post-Pat Richards era again became evident as Matty Smith missed both conversions.
Hull KR responded on 13 minutes, Kris Keating's clever kick saw Josh Charnley bundled into touch and from the resulting set it was Keating who slipped a neat pass for Jamie Langley to burst over from close range - Travis Burns converting.
They would hit the front shortly afterwards as Wigan paid the price for indiscipline from Blake Green, Liam Salter breaking through the tackle of Joe Burgess to reach over and score.
Rovers would make it three tries in 13 minutes to stun the DW Stadium after the Warriors conceded another penalty - although this time the obstruction call on Darryll Goulding looked harsh.
Again Keating was involved as he spun out a long pass to Welham that took out three players and allowed the centre to coast over unchallenged - Burns converted to put the visitors 16-8 to the good.
Thornley quickly reduced the arrears with his second try of the night following a neat side-step back inside, touching down next to the posts which allowed Smith an easy conversion that he celebrated in ironic style.
But there was still time for seventh try in a breathless first half, Rovers going over again - and again on the back of a Wigan error.
It was Jordan James who knocked on to gift away possession in a dangerous area and the Robins again focused their attack down the blindside, exposing an isolated Charnley as Ben Cockayne was afforded a simple finish in the corner to make the half-time score 20-14.
Rovers looked to have picked up where they left off on the restart only for Horne's effort to be disallowed for a contentious forward pass.
It was to prove a big decision as moments later Wigan broke, Burgess escaping down the left touchline before slipping back inside to Liam Farrell who went over for a try, converted by Smith, which levelled the match.
They would eventually reclaim the lead on 64 minutes as Justin Poore gave away a cheap penalty. Smith picked a fine pass to find replacement Ben Flower who stormed over from close range allowing the creator to slot his third consecutive conversion for a 26-20 lead.
With time running out Wigan then turned to Smith's boot for a simple penalty goal which gave them breathing space after Josh Hodgson was penalised for stripping Scott Taylor, but it was left to Thornley to confirm victory.
The centre notched his first senior hat-trick as he got on the end of a neat grubber from Green to touch down, Smith adding an excellent conversion to complete the scoring.
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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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