Featherstone v Wigan reaction
Coach Shaun Wane breathed a huge sigh of relief after watching Wigan overcome part-timers Featherstone 32-16 in the Carnegie Challenge Cup.
Fresh from their euphoric 23-16 victory over Super League neighbours Castleford, Rovers eyed an even bigger scalp when they twice held the lead in Friday night's fifth-round tie against the Cup holders.
The Championship part-timers managed to keep a tight rein on danger man Sam Tomkins and were still in the hunt until Warriors winger Josh Charnley went over for his 16th try of the season on 64 minutes to enable their coach to breathe easily as they reached the quarter-finals.
"I knew it was going to be tough," said Wane. "I'm just glad we're through to the next round. It was a real old-fashioned cup-tie.
"I know what it's like coming here. That is what the Cup is all about and I hope that lives with Featherstone for many years to come. I thought they were outstanding.
"I was uncomfortable. I've watched quite a bit of Featherstone and I knew they could play.
"They did a great job on Sam. We need to work on ways to counteract that but we'll learn things and get better.
"I have to say I was disappointed with the pace of the game. It was allowed to be played at a Championship pace. It was painfully slow and that really disappoints me."
Featherstone overcame the disappointment of conceding a try to Wigan skipper Sean O'Loughlin after only three minutes to storm into a 10-6 lead thanks to quickfire scores from Tom Saxton and Ian Hardman.
However, they conceded a try to Gareth Hock on the stroke of half-time and lost both tryscorers to injury early in the second half as the Warriors gradually got on top.
Winger Josh Charnley's 16th try of the season ultimately proved decisive and, although Featherstone rallied again to provide a try for Gareth Raynor on his home debut, Hock added a second just before the end to rub salt into their wounds.
"I'm unbelievably proud," said Rovers coach Daryl Powell.
"I thought the try at the end probably did us a disservice - 26-16 would have been a fairer reflection of the game.
"What an effort from minute one to minute 80 from every one of the players. We've got to get a lot of confidence from it.
"We looked at each other last night in the team meeting and we talked about what was possible. We didn't think we could win it but the next time we come up against one of the better teams we'll believe we can do it.
"It was a sensational effort. Defensively what we did was incredible. We made life really difficult for Wigan."
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