x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Saints stretch their unbeaten run on the Wolves

Leeds and St Helens pick up derby match wins, but Wigan have no joy on Humberside.

Leeds made it two wins out of two, Wigan lost for the second time in six days and it was business as usual for St Helens as they extended their unbeaten run against local rivals Warrington to 22 matches. Saints were staring at a first home defeat by the Wolves for 15 years when they trailed 14-0 but they ran in six second-half tries to give the new coach Mick Potter a winning start with a 26-14 success. The Wolves, who have won only one of the 34 previous Super League meetings with St Helens, went ahead with tries from the former Saints hooker Mickey Higham and Paul Rauhihi and three goals from Chris Hicks. However, Potter's men roared back with tries through Lee Gilmour, Ade Gardner, Matt Gidley (2), James Graham and teenage debutant winger Tom Armstrong. "The guys didn't panic and it was a good first experience for me," said Potter. Saints' victory would have been even more emphatic but for some wayward goalkicking by Sean Long. The scrum-half needed just three goals to bring up a career total of 1,000 but he managed a solitary success. Leeds followed up their opening-day win over Celtic Crusaders with an 18-4 victory over a patched-up Wakefield, who took most of the honours from the West Yorkshire derby. A hamstring injury to scrum-half Sam Obst in the warm-up left the Wildcats without 10 members of their 26-strong squad through injury and illness, and they were forced to give a debut to the teenager Luke Blake. But, fresh from their opening 12-6 win at Wigan, the visitors battled superbly and were in the hunt for another shock victory until the debutant Danny Buderus sent Ian Kirke over for the match-winning try seven minutes from the end. Leeds were without five internationals, including the skipper Kevin Sinfield, and lost Ali Lauitiiti and Kallum Watkins to injury but they kept their try-line intact, much to the delight of the coach Brian McClennan. "I'm really pleased with the efforts of the boys," he said. McClennan singled out the fullback Lee Smith for special praise after he shrugged off a bout of sickness to secure a second successive man-of-the-match award. "Lee was crook at half-time so it was a brave effort by him," said McClennan. "We would have got him off if we could." Wigan's poor start to the season continued at the KC Stadium, where they went down 18-10 to Hull. It was 6-6 at half-time, tries from Phil Bailey and the returning Richard Horne cancelling each other out, but Pat Richards put Wigan back in front just after the break. Second-half tries from Lee Radford and Peter Cusack proved to be the key for Hull in their first outing of the season. "I thought we deserved something from the game," said Wigan coach Brian Noble. *PA Sport