Australian duo Jai Field and Bevan French proved the difference as Wigan took control in the second half and overpowered local rivals Leigh Leopards in a full-pelt Super League derby. Field scored two tries and French touched down, while their creativity and pace caused problems all over the park. The only sour note to Matt Peet’s night as Wigan head coach was seeing the influential Field limp off with a hamstring injury with around 13 minutes to play, with Peet confirming scans are required to assess the full extent of the damage. Leigh welcomed their rivals to the Sports Village on the back of a noteworthy start to the campaign, with a ‘Leopards’ rebrand under charismatic owner Derek Beaumont and a high-profile string of pre-match entertainment guests. Their form under ex-Wigan boss Adrian Lam has also been impressive with wins over champions St Helens and both Hull clubs, and this match was billed as the ‘Battle of the Borough’. However, the upwardly mobile Leopards were given a lesson in handling the weekly rigours of Super League by a battle-hardened Wigan side out to prove a point. Briscoe’s opening try, the 200th of his career, was an exhibition of the class within their ranks with lock John Asiata, full-back Gareth O’Brien and half-back Lachlan Lam slicing the Cherry and Whites open with sharp hands. However, a late shot on O’Brien by Wardle led to him going off for a head injury assessment and the Wigan centre sin-binned. Leigh passed up opportunities throughout the game with Edwin Ipape stopped just short, French grounding a Lam kick under pressure, and a late dink ricocheting behind despite a sterling chase. Wigan, however, took their chances clinically, with French’s kicking and catch-and-pass creating tries for Wardle and Miski respectively – the former coming off a retrieved charge-down that allowed the full-back to burn off his chasers and measure a clip over the last line of defence for the centre to score. His own try was a show-and-go that took him straight through the line, similar to Field’s turbo-powered efforts. Harry Smith had a mixed night off the tee, but his kicking from hand and game management was excellent, guiding the visitors around brilliantly and nailing a 40-20 for the opening score. Wigan now head for another derby over the Easter weekend, welcoming St Helens to the DW Stadium on Good Friday; Leigh play Salford on the Saturday. “I’m disappointed at the end of the 80 minutes, the scoreline blew out a fair bit on the back of a few bounces and kicks, it’s hard to cop that when they’ve put so much effort in. “I’ll walk in the dressing room and tell them how proud I am of their efforts, it’s part of the journey for us, we’ve got to go through these moments, which will identify us and make us better. “Everything that Bevan touched turned to gold, there were three or four important plays where he had a part of putting the ball on his foot and before you know it, it’s three or four tries off kicks and it’s 24 points – it’s all over.” “We knew it was going to take a really good performance to get anything tonight, with the event and the theatre around the game as well as the quality they’ve got. We’re pleased with what we did. “There was a lot of strong foundations laid in the first 15, 25 minutes, making certain players work overtime and being patient with the ball, and we got our rewards in the end. “French and Field are a pleasure to coach. When we lay foundations, our big men go forward and run hard and hit hard, we’ve got the pace and talent to take advantage of tired defenders. “It was a performance where the forwards laid the groundwork and the backs finished it off, which is what good rugby league teams are built on.” Get latest scores and headlines sent straight to your phone, sign-up to our newsletter and learn where to find us on online. How to get into rugby league – a crowd-pleasing, physically demanding game with few stoppages and plenty of pace.