WIDNES Vikings have issued an apology following 'disgraceful scenes' at the end of the Challenge Cup semi-final in Leigh on Sunday.

Fans launched a tirade of abuse towards stewards and invaded the pitch after the team lost 28-6 to Castleford Tigers at Leigh Sports Village.

It is believed reports the Tigers' mascot was attacked and a number of smoke bombs were also discharged during the course of the game.

Vikings' chief executive James Rule said they wanted to apologise to the sport, the BBC and Challenge Cup partners Tetley for the behaviour of a minority of fans.

He added: “After all the hard work that’s gone into this season, both on and off the field by various stakeholders of the club, it’s sickening to see such shameful scenes perpetrated by a minority of ‘supporters’.

“We will now work closely with the RFL and police and carry out a full investigation into this afternoon's events.

"If any supporter is able to provide information and names that will assist our investigation then please send that in confidence to tellus@widnesvikings.co.uk.

"It's imperative that we all work together to try and salvage what is left if our reputation.

“The club's recruitment drive for next season has been put on hold until such time that we can establish the full cost to the club for today’s actions.

“We will work fully with the RFL and the BBC to identify each and every individual that brought shame to the good name of our club at full-time.”

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood added: “The sport has every right to be disappointed with the behaviour of a minority of Widnes fans.

"We will work with the clubs to identify any supporters who encroached on to the pitch. There is no place for such behaviour in rugby league."

A spokesman from Greater Manchester Police, who had officers at the game, said: "At the end of the Castleford Tigers v Widnes Vikings Challenge Cup semi-final at Leigh Sports Village, a minority of fans from the Widnes section invaded the pitch.

"Supporting stewards, officers from GMP ensured the supporters left the pitch and made their way out of the stadium.

"Minor damage was caused to seating in the stadium, pitchside billboards and other signage.

"One woman suffered a twisted ankle but there were no serious injuries and no arrests were made."