Tue, Jul 31, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Dragons stun Wigan to reach final

AFP , LONDON

Catalans Dragons stunned Wigan 37-24 on Sunday to become the first French team to reach the Challenge Cup final.

The Perpignan team will meet holders St. Helens at Wembley on Aug. 25 after holding off a tremendous fightback by Wigan in an epic semi-final at Warrington.

Wigan were in danger of being routed when they trailed 31-6 after 53 minutes but they took full advantage of the sin-binning of Catalans captain Stacey Jones to launch a sensational comeback.

Three quickfire tries, including a 90m effort from Mark Calderwood, briefly gave Wigan hope but Jones had the last laugh, setting up the match-clinching try for Jason Croker within seconds of his return.

Jones kicked six goals from seven attempts, while 19-year-old Vincent Duport took his place on the wing and responded with two of his side's six tries.

The defeat was another shattering blow to Wigan, whose four-point deduction for a salary-cap breach effectively scuppered their Grand Final hopes earlier in the week.

John Wilson, Adam Mogg and Casey McGuire were Catalans' other try scorers while Mick Higham, Darrell Goulding and Thomas Leuluai also crossed for Wigan.

St. Helens had reached the final on Saturday with a 35-14 win over Bradford.

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