Wigan’s Wembley ambitions are over after a hungry Leeds Rhinos ran in four tries as they came away with a 26-12 victory.
Heading into the game on the back of defeats, Leeds and Wigan both knew that the semi final would be an opportunity to gain momentum heading into the business end of the Super League season.
However, a dominating display by Leeds saw them reach Wembley and take a shot at winning their 14th Challenge Cup.
A rain-soaked pitch in St Helens made for challenging conditions for both teams.
Kicks from both Robert Lui and Luke Gale tested the Warriors defensive line early on, but it was the Rhinos who took the lead thanks to Wigan’s poor discipline.
Rhyse Martin put the Rhinos ahead with a penalty goal from in front of the posts, this was followed by a superb 40/20 kick from former Castleford halfback Luke Gale to five Richard Agar’s Rhinos a chance to extend their lead.
They did exactly that as penalty kicker Martin went over from a short distance to make it 6-0 to the Yorkshire side, his converted his own try to extend the teams lead further.
Leeds continued to apply pressure to the Warriors line, but Wigan stayed strong limiting Leeds to their own half on multiple occasions.
Luke Gale continued to show why he won man of steel in 2017, controlling the sets with his kicking play making Wigan start sets from their own ten metre line.
Rhinos pressure opened up the Wigan defence with a kick from Luke Gale being misread, the ball was pattered down to fullback Richie Myler who passed the ball along the line to winger Ash Handley who touched down to make it 14-0.
Martin maintained his perfect kicking record to make it 16-0 with five minutes of the first half remaining.
Leeds went over for another try with two minutes remaining, a repeat set of six lead by Luke Gale saw Tom Briscoe go over after Gale decided to run the ball with Konrad Hurrel timing a pass perfectly.
Twenty-two points up as the half time siren sounded, Wigan had everything to do in the second half if they were to book their place at Wembley.
As the rain lashed down is was obvious that the weather was having an effect on both the game and the players with errors starting to come from both sides.
It took twenty-eight minutes for the first and only score of the second half with both sides defence holding strong, however it was Leeds Rhinos who went over.
Ash Handley squeezed himself over after Liam Sutcliffe opened up the Cherries defence with Handley going over to make it 24-0.
Martin missed the attempt at the posts but added two more points moments later when Wigan gave away another penalty.
Wigan scored two late consolation tries through Harry Smith and Zak Hardaker, but the Rhinos closed shop to come away 26-12 victors.
Luke Gale picked up a deserved man of the match award, and Wigan will be looking to regather as they prepare to face Warrington Wolves.