Wigan 34 Hull KR 20: Thornley hat-trick leaves Rovers still seeking first win

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Hull KR ran out of steam against champions Wigan Warriors as they still hunt for their first First Utility Super League win of the season.

A hat-trick of tries from centre Iain Thornley did the damage for Wigan, but it was another below-par performance from the champions.

Hull KR led 16-8 midway through the first half before slipping to a 34-20 defeat.

The Warriors clearly missed their injury-prone skipper Sean O’Loughlin, who failed a late fitness test, and the suspended Michael McIlorum.

Wigan have now won 13 consecutive games against the Robins but they will need to up their game when they meet Warrington in a Grand-Final re-match next Thursday.

It had earlier looked a formality for the champions after scoring two tries in the first eight minutes, including a spectacular long-range effort from full-back Matty Bowen.

Thornley opened the scoring with his first try, finishing off some neat handling from half-backs Blake Green and Matty Smith, and Bowen doubled the Warriors’ lead when he took Travis Burns’s high kick and, after sprinting through a fragmented defence, held off Rovers’ debutant winger Ade Gardner for an opportunist score.

Smith was off target with both conversion attempts and Wigan found themselves trailing after Rovers hit them with three tries in 14 minutes.

Keating’s pinpoint pass got Jamie Langley striding through a gap for his first try for the club, Liam Salter stretched out of Joe Burgess’s tackle to touch down and Kris Welham used an overlap to cross at the other corner.

Burns’s second goal put the Robins into a 16-8 lead and, although Thornley burst through for a second try on 30 minutes and Smith kicked his first goal, the visitors exposed more defensive deficiencies to work winger Ben Cockayne over for a fourth try six minutes before the break.

Josh Charnley was denied a try on his 100th start for the club on the stroke of half-time due to obstruction but Wigan drew level three minutes into the second half when clever work from Green freed Burgess for a run down the wing and second rower Liam Farrell was on his inside to finish off the move.

And the champions were back in front on 64 minutes when they ran the ball on the last tackle and prop Ben Flower took Smith’s short pass to go over for their fifth try.

Hull KR had a try from Graeme Horne disallowed for a forward pass but they were clearly second best in the final quarter as Wigan gradually began to find their rhythm.

Smith put two scores between the teams with a penalty and Thornley touched down Green’s delicate kick to complete his hat-trick four minutes from the end, with Smith adding the extras once more.

Wigan: Bowen, Charnley, Goulding, Thornley, Burgess, Green, Smith, Taylor, Tomkins, Crosby, L. Farrell, Hughes, Flower. Substitutes: Pettybourne, Bateman, Williams, James.

Hull K R: Eden, Cockayne, Welham, Salter, Gardner, Burns, Keating, Poore, J. Hodgson, Weyman, Larroyer, Costigan, Langley. Substitutes: A. Walker, Horne, Cox, Green.

Referee: R Silverwood (RFL).