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Bevan French stars again in Wigan Challenge Cup triumph

Bevan French keeps writing his name in rugby league legend for Wigan, the Australian playmaker following up his man-of-the-match performance in their World Club Challenge triumph over Penrith with another tour de force in a Challenge Cup final victory.

French landed the Lance Todd Trophy as the player of the match in English rugby league's showpiece game at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, guiding Wigan to their 21st victory in the knockout tournament with an 18-8 win over Warrington.

The 28-year-old was superb, setting up one early try and going over with a virtuoso score of his own to set England's most famous club on their way to the full set of silverware as league leaders' shield victors, Super League champs, world club winners and now holders of the game's most celebrated knockout trophy.

"It's crazy," smiled Man of Steel winner French, who's now lifted every honour, individual and team, that the British club game has to offer.

"We started off at the start of the week, talking about what we could accomplish as a group - not many teams have gone grand final, league leaders, world club and then this, so that's been a main focus for us, a bit of motivation there.

"It's going to take a bit for it to sink in with all the trophies now, so we'll sit down and enjoy it for a few days."

Former Parramatta Eels flyer French, who carried an Indigenous flag proudly at Wembley after the triumph, was joined by his Australian colleagues Jai Field and Jaide Ellis, also decked in national flags, on another day of international celebration for the cherry-and-whites.

But there was nothing but disappointment for a Warrington side coached in his first season by former NRL star Sam Burgess and featuring four Aussies, Matt Dufty, Josh Drinkwater, Paul Vaughan and Lachlan Fitzgibbon.

French set the tone for the victory in the hectic early stages, as first he set up Zach Eckersley for Wigan's opening score, before his own magical dancing feet enabled him to feint and skip over, even touching the ball down while facing backwards, for a terrific second from close range.

"You've got to pull the trigger at the right time," said French, who then paid tribute to the defensive solidity of his team which he felt underpinned a victory sealed by captain Liam Farrell's second-half clincher.

The game had begun chaotically with referee Chris Kendall issuing yellow cards inside the first three minutes, first to Wigan's Mike Cooper for a high challenge, and then to Dufty for a similar offence.

It was an eventful match for Dufty, the former St George Illawarra fullback, who skipped over for a try midway through the second half which proved too little too late for Warrington.

It was an emotional day at England's national stadium, with the crowd of 64,845 also taking part in a series of tributes to Leeds great Rob Burrow, who had died earlier in the week.