English Super League outfits Wigan Warriors and Hull FC went down in close defeats to Australian National Rugby League clubs South Sydney and St George Illawarra in a rugby league double-header in Sydney on Saturday.
The Warriors, four-times World Club champions, lost 18-8 to the Rabbitohs, while Hull FC took St George Illawarra Dragons all the way before going down 24-18 at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.
The Rabbitohs were without prized off-season recruit Dane Gagai, along with regular stars Cody Walker, Sam Burgess and Angus Crichton for the encounter, but controlled possession to wear down Wigan in the second half.
Wigan scored first when a Sean O’Loughlin cross-field kick enabled Tom Davies to plant the ball down in the sixth minute.
South Sydney clicked into gear following the error to lay on two tries in quick succession.
Robbie Farah and Damien Cook combined to send Tom Burgess over from short range, before Campbell Graham finished off a Hymel Hunt line break to cross out wide in the 18th minute.
Wigan lost interchange player Liam Marshall to the sin bin for a professional foul.
The Rabbitohs took advantage of the extra man in attack with Richard Kennar scoring in the corner.
Wigan fought back nearing half-time with Davis doing well to finish off a right-side attack and reach out for a double.
Souths sealed the win in the 76th minute when Adam Doueihi scored near the posts.
In the earlier match, Hull FC got the first points after Albert Kelly scored off a grubber kick.
The Dragons scored successive tries through Tim Lafai and Jason Nightingale before Kelly sliced through for his second try of the game and give Hull FC a 12-10 lead.
But the Dragons took charge after the resumption with giant winger Nene Macdonald scoring a try double for an 18-12 lead.
Hull FC prop Liam Watts caught the Dragons defence off-guard and powered over to level the scores at 18-all.
But the Dragons had the final say when Kurt Mann put them back in front with a spirited run for a converted try.