SAINTS coach Justin Holbrook described his side's 14-6 win at Wigan as one of the toughest games he has witnessed.

The 13th win on the spin stretched Saints' lead at the top to 10 points and ended Wigan's unbeaten home record.

Although Wigan were without a half dozen first teamers, Saints too were missing Ben Barba and Mark Percival, as well as Zeb Taia - but adjusted well.

Holbrook said: "It definitely wasn't easy.

"It was one of the toughest games I've watched.

"There were not many tries scored, but neither team gave an inch, there was big hit after big hit for 80 minutes, which showed the brutality of our game.

"We were the ones creating chances but we were not good enough to finish them off.

"They're a quality side Wigan and, although I know they had some troops out, they kept coming all the way as I expected they would and it ended up as another cracking derby between the two clubs.

"I am very happy to come away with the win."

Barba (ribs) and Percival (sickness) dropped out of the 19 on Wednesday and the morning of the match respectively. It meant a degree of adjustment.

"We obviously shuffled a few guys around but we were ready to go and did a good job.

"It was as physical as you can get. Both sides defended really well and there were some bone crunching tackles from both sides.

"It was as physical as you can get.

Second rowers Dominique Peyroux and Morgan Knowles scored Saints' tries but the win was founded on another superb 80-minute effort from skipper James Roby.

It means Saints have one hand on the League Leaders Shield even before the Super 8s begin.

Holbrook said: "We are really enjoying playing every week and there's no sense of 'we are not ready to play' whoever we are playing.

"Every team is hard. We had to dig deep, for 20 minutes Wigan were on our line and we kept turning up for each other.

"We are really happy with the playing group and they decide how they want to go about it. We are doing it every week and enjoy that so obviously want to keep going that way and not worry about the league points, but just focusing on doing it again next week."

Wigan coach Shaun Wane admitted that Saints deserved the spoils.

"The best team won, without a shadow of a doubt," Wane said.

"They had the majority of the game but I'm really proud of our efforts. It was a typical derby.

"They got stuck into each other, there were injured bodies and blood everywhere, which is a great sign."