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Super League: Wigan Warriors on top after crushing Widnes Vikings
Wigan Warriors have climbed to the top of the Super League table with a thumping 48-4 success over slumping Widnes Vikings at the DW Stadium.
The champions always had a game to make up this season due to their involvement in the World Club Challenge prior to Wednesday’s triumph over the Challenge Cup semi-finalists.
On a night when Wigan confirmed the re-signing of Joel Tomkins from Saracens, Josh Charnley returned for the Warriors and helped himself to five tries in the romp.
It was all very predictable from the moment third-choice full-back Dan Sarginson split the visitors' defence inside the first minute to get Liam Farrell over for the game's first try.
Matty Smith kicked the first of his six goals to make it 6-0 but the Warriors were forced to defend after handling errors inside their own 20-metre area by Sarginson and Scott Taylor put them under pressure.
That paid off when Vikings winger Paddy Flynn took Danny Craven's inside pass and sidestepped his way past Joe Burgess for his side's only try.
It was only a minor irritation for the champions, however, as Charnley opened his account on 13 minutes following another break from the ever-threatening Sarginson and Burgess collected Sam Powell's kick to get skipper Sean O'Loughlin over 10 minutes later.
When Widnes second rower Danny Galea dropped the ball on his own 30-metre line, Charnley made him pay by going over for his second try and he completed his hat-trick on 34 minutes after out-jumping Patrick Ah Van to touch down Smith's high kick.
It was turning into a procession with Sarginson carving out a fourth try for the England winger two minutes before the break, and centre Darrell Goulding sending him over for his fifth 14 minutes into the second half.
Widnes were without former Wigan stand-off Kevin Brown by then after he was withdrawn by coach Denis Betts, perhaps with an eye on the visit of Leeds on Sunday, while Wigan boss Shaun Wane took the opportunity to rest O'Loughlin with 25 minutes still to play.
Liam Farrell finished off a break by Burgess to score his second try before his younger brother Connor got in on the act on his debut, dummying his way over for Wigan's ninth try six minutes from the end.
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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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