Rugby League

Denis Betts' Widnes inflicted a first defeat of the season on Wigan.

Denis Betts hails determined Vikings after Widnes beat Wigan

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Widnes coach Denis Betts hailed his side's character after they came from 8-0 down at half-time to end Wigan's 21-month unbeaten home run in Super League.

Only Brisbane Broncos had beaten the Warriors at the DW Stadium since St Helens were victorious in June 2014 but the Vikings pulled off a famous 18-12 win on Thursday night to maintain their flying start to the season and open up a two-point lead at the top of the table.

Tries from Stefan Marsh, one of five former Wigan players in their starting line-up, Matt Whitley and Charly Runciman, plus three goals from Rhys Hanbury, helped Widnes to their first away win over Wigan for 11 years.

"It's hard not to say it's a fantastic night for the club and the players, " Betts said. "We've had some tough days here.

"But we came here today with real purpose, we had a confidence about ourselves.

"We looked a bit uncomfortable at times but we rode that and showed a lot of character and belief.

"It was an emotional day for us - there are a lot of ex-Wigan players in the group. Emotion burns energy very quickly and we looked shot after 20 minutes.

"But when we came in at half-time we tried to take the emotion out of the game and our composure was better in the second half."

Betts was especially full of praise for veteran hooker Aaron Heremaia, who played the full 80 minutes in the absence of Lloyd White, who was a late withdrawal with a calf injury.

"It's had to put into words, playing 80 minutes in a game like that," Betts said. "We had a couple of plans to spell him but he didn't want to come off."

Wigan were poised to complete their best-ever start to a Super League season thanks to early tries from Liam Farrell and Josh Charnley, who added a second on 53 minutes, but Matty Smith was wide with all three conversion attempts.

"They were good for the win," said Wigan coach Shaun Wane. "They're the best team in the comp and, if you make defensive errors and give them field position, they're going to burn you.

"They stayed with us a long time and I knew eight points were not going to be enough.

"We went away from our system, which is disappointing. We had a good record here and that's gone, and in a cheap way. It 's hard to take.

"Their last plays were better than ours but we fixed it a bit in the second half and, i f we had been a bit smarter, we would have got the game.

"But in the end the best team won."

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