|Hull KR (4) 11|
|Tries: Senior, Ryan Goal: Schneider Drop-goal: Schneider|
|Wigan (8) 10|
|Try: Field Goals: Smith 3|
Brad Schneider’s golden-point drop-goal sent Hull KR into the Challenge Cup final as they beat 12-man Wigan.
Louis Senior’s early try put Rovers ahead, but Jai Field raced over to level before two Harry Smith goals gave the holders an 8-4 half-time lead.
Wigan’s Joe Shorrocks was red-carded for a high shot on Mikey Lewis and, after Smith’s third goal, Ethan Ryan’s try sent the game to golden point.
Schneider then kept his cool to kick the winning goal in the second minute.
Hull KR will bid to win the cup for just the second time when they meet Leigh at Wembley on Saturday, 12 August after the Leopards edged St Helens in Saturday’s semi-final.
The most dramatic of victories was Rovers’ first in a Challenge Cup semi-final against Wigan – having lost their three previous meetings at this stage – and sent them through to their seventh final.
Schneider incredibly kicked a golden-point winner on debut just nine days earlier at Headingley when Rovers pipped Leeds in Super League.
The 22-year-old Australian was again was the man for the moment as he threaded the kick which ended Wigan’s shot at a 21st Challenge Cup.
It was a second Challenge Cup disappointment of the day for Warriors, whose women’s side were beaten by Leeds Rhinos in their last-four tie.
Wigan grab the initiative
Rovers’ preparations suffered a blow in the warm-up when winger Ryan Hall’s torn calf flared up and Lewis, himself returning from injury, was promoted from the bench to start at full-back.
Wigan poured on the pressure from the whistle, but were stunned when the Robins scored with their first attack.
Willie Peters’ side barely had a touch in the Wigan half until Field’s knock-on gifted them field position and, direct from the scrum, Lewis helped create an overlap on the right to give Senior a run to the corner.
Wigan were rocked and struggled to unlock KR’s tenacious defence in tough rain-sodden conditions.
However, Field made amends in the 23rd minute, using his pace to accelerate through the smallest crack in the Rovers defence, with Harry Smith’s goal putting the holders in front.
As a breathless half hurtled towards its conclusion, it was Wigan’s turn to absorb unstinting Robins pressure, but hold out they did and Smith extended their slender lead to four on the hooter after Rovers were penalised for a ball steal.
Rovers roar back as Warriors see red again
Wigan played 74 minutes with 12 men in their quarter-final win over Warrington, and faced the same challenge when referee Liam Moore sent off Shorrocks’ after his shoulder connected with the chin of Lewis.
Moore briefly levelled up the numbers when Shaun Kenny-Dowall was yellow-carded for illegally obstructing Bevan French at the line, and Smith made it 10-4 when his penalty went over via the left-hand post.
Yet Rovers came again and levelled to set up a dramatic final 18 minutes thanks to Kenny-Dowall, who made an instant impact on his return to the action.
His powerful burst towards the line was held up short, but he popped a superb offload to Matt Parcell who gave Ryan a simple close-range finish in the corner.
The tempo rarely dropped below frantic, despite the conditions, and both sides had chances to win it late in normal time.
French saw a drop-goal attempt charged down five minutes from the end of normal time, and Schneider then knocked on as Rovers gave him good field position for a last-minute drop.
But the Australian half-back would go on to more than make up for it.
Hull KR head coach Willie Peters told BBC Sport:
“It was a great effort. I thought we did it the hard way.
“When Wigan went down to 12 men we panicked a little bit, and then we stuck to a plan that we had and when we did that we started to create a bit of momentum.
“At the end of the day we haven’t done anything yet. We are going to Wembley which is massive for our club, but we haven’t won the title yet so we have to go and do another job.”
On Brad Schneider: “I’ve only known the kid a couple of weeks but I know how calm and composed he is.
“He’s a true half-back. He managed that game perfectly at the back end and he’s only going to get better and better for us.”
Wigan head coach Matt Peet told BBC Sport:
“It was a fantastic game, I’m proud of the players and credit to Hull KR. Ultimately they got what they deserved.
“It was a great game and a great advert for the sport. I’m very proud of my players and I couldn’t have asked much more from them.”
On Joe Shorrocks’ red card: “It certainly could have [been a yellow card], but those are the moments in games. They happen and you’ve just got to get on with it.
“There are other things in the game you could question, but ultimately it was pretty level and the best team just pipped it in the end.”
Hull KR: Ryan; Senior, Opacic, Kenny-Dowall, Lewis; Milnes, Schneider; Kennedy, Litten, King, Batchelor, Linnett, Minchella.
Interchanges: Parcell, Storton, Aydin, Luckley.
Wigan: Field; Miski, King, Wardle, Marshall; French, Smith; Ellis, O’Neill, Byrne, Isa, Farrell, Smithies.
Interchanges: Pearce-Paul, Shorrocks, Mago, Hill.
Referee: Liam Moore.