Hull KR vs London Broncos

Last time out

Hull KR registered an invaluable win at the Leigh Sports Village, with Shaun Lunt crossing from close range late on to put his side 20-16 up. Leigh started well and looked as though they would add another win to their tally when they crossed with a stylish try from just under fifty metres out that was finished by Daniel Mortimer. It took just under twenty minutes for the Robins to reply and this time it was Shaun Lunt who provided the goods from close range. Jamie Ellis converted and the scores were level at 6-6 with fewer than ten minutes of the first half left to play. A pair of Josh Drinkwater penalty goals straddled the half time break and put Leigh four points up going into the final quarter of the game. Hull KR came back though, and Ryan Shaw crossed to level the scores – after which Jamie Ellis added the extras to put his side in the lead. The two sides traded blows before Vea broke the deadlock with a muscular effort that looked as though it had sealed the win for the Centurions. However, Shaun Lunt spearheaded, and finished off, a spirited comeback to win the game for the Robins.

London Broncos, on the other hand, threw away a commanding lead twice in the game and eventually ended up drawing with Featherstone Rovers in west London. In one of the most bizarre games this season Broncos went 14-0 up early on, only to be pegged back to 14-10 by half time. Featherstone carried the momentum through the half time break and took a 22-14 lead with fewer than thirty minutes to play. The Broncos, however, seem to have a knack of slipping out of such holes in the knick of time this season and it looked as though they just might do it. Sammut catalysed the comeback with a solo effort just a few minutes later and converted his own try, before Mark Ioane crossed for a rare try and Sammut slotted another one to put the Broncos back in the lead by four. Andy Ackers got over within fifteen minutes of time to push the Broncos lead to eight, and with Sammut adding the extras the Broncos led by ten points. After conceding eighteen unanswered points, Featherstone managed to build momentum and produced a top class comeback, culminating in Chris Ulugia crossing in the left hand corner off the back of an ugly piece off attacking play off a 5th tackle kick from Featherstone. The try left Hardman to level the scores and put the cherry on top of a massive capitulation from the Broncos, and he did just that. London tried their hardest to recover a short kick off in the dying stages of the game to no avail and it was too late to salvage a win, so the game ended as one of the highest scoring draws seen in recent history, with the scores level at 32-32.

 

Key Battle

The forwards are key in this one. These two sides were the only two teams in the Kingstone Press Championship to score over 830 points, over 150 points clear of the next best in the league so there’s no doubt the playmakers and finishers can provide. However, we’ve seen both sides come unstuck when they’ve been uprooted in the pack. Against more inferior sides the forwards pack might get away with an off day, but they really can’t afford to rely solely on their backs in this one. Broncos showed they could mix it with the big Catalans forwards two weeks ago, however that form has since been shown to be weak with Catalans staring relegation in the face after big losses to Warrington and Leigh. The Hull forwards, however, come into this off the back of a massive win away at Leigh against a big pack, and with big lads like Mose Masoe in the fray, they are sure to cause the London pack some problems. The backs won’t be bailing the big boys out this time – the forwards really will win it in this one.

 

Prediction

Last weekend can be written off for the Broncos with their inability to defend on the 4G at home being to blame for the loss. In my mind, they stand a far greater chance when playing on the natural stuff and should benefit from going up to Hull on Sunday. However, the Robins are on fire at the moment and I’m not sure how the Broncos can beat them in this form. It’s a Hull KR win for me, but the Broncos should push them relatively close. Hull by 8.

 

19-Man Squads

Hull KR: Liam Salter, Ryan Shaw, Jamie Ellis, Nick Scruton, Shaun Lunt, Chris Clarkson, Maurice Blair, James Greenwood, Danny Addy, George Lawler, Matty Marsh, Robbie Mulhern, Andrew Heffernan, Kieren Moss, Ben Kavanagh, Justin Carney, Lee Jewitt, Chris Atkin, Mose Masoe.

London Broncos: Andy Ackers, William Barthau, John Boudebza, James Cunningham, Matt Davis, Kieran Dixon, Ben Evans, Matt Gee, Ben Hellewell, Mark Ioane, Elliot Kear, Api Pewhairangi, Jay Pitts, Junior Roqica, Jarrod Sammut, Tom Spencer, Alex Walker, Sam Wilde, Rhys Williams.

 

Widnes Vikings vs Featherstone Rovers

Last time out

Widnes produced a convincing performance away at Halifax to get the first win of their qualifiers campaign. The Vikings scored 18 unanswered points in the first half with tries from Chris Bridge, Lloyd White and Charly Runciman, all of which were converted by Lloyd White to put the visiting side out to a seemingly unassailable lead. The second half was more competitive despite Corey Thompson scoring two back-to-back tries early in the second half to put the Vikings 26-0 up. Halifax, however, wouldn’t go the whole game scoreless with Ben Heaton scoring a double in the middle part of the second half to make it seven tries in his last three games. Despite his double, Halifax couldn’t muster any more points for a late comeback and let in another two Widnes tries late on, from which the visiting side won the game 36-12 and sealed their first win of the qualifiers.

Featherstone salvaged a draw in an exciting game in West London after trailing by 10 points or more twice in the game. In one of the most bizarre games this season Broncos went 14-0 up early on, only to be pegged back to 14-10 by half time. Featherstone carried the momentum through the half time break and took a 22-14 lead with fewer than thirty minutes to play. The Broncos, however, seem to have a knack of slipping out of such holes in the knick of time this season and it looked as though they just might do it. Sammut catalysed the comeback with a solo effort just a few minutes later and converted his own try, before Mark Ioane crossed for a rare try and Sammut slotted another one to put the Broncos back in the lead by four. Andy Ackers got over within fifteen minutes of time to push the Broncos lead to eight, and with Sammut adding the extras the Broncos led by ten points. After conceding eighteen unanswered points, Featherstone managed to build momentum and produced a top class comeback, culminating in Chris Ulugia crossing in the left hand corner off the back of an ugly piece off attacking play off a 5th tackle kick from Featherstone. The try left Hardman to level the scores and put the cherry on top of a massive capitulation from the Broncos, and he did just that. London tried their hardest to recover a short kick off in the dying stages of the game to no avail and it was too late to salvage a win, so the game ended as one of the highest scoring draws seen in recent history, with the scores level at 32-32.

 

Key Battle

Featherstone lose a few key forwards to injury in this one, with Bostock, Mariano and Walton all suffering from the tough clash in London last week. However, they bring in Jack Ormondroyd from Leeds Rhinos to help bolster the pack. On the other hand, Widnes name an almost identical squad to last week with only Alex Gerrard coming into the side, with Jay Chapelhow dropping out. With Featherstone having a few key men out, they’ll struggle in the forwards against the season Super League pack of Widnes. The Widnes boys should be too strong up front and should get a roll on for their backs to play off. If Featherstone can disrupt them, much like Halifax did with Warrington, then they might have a chance but I wouldn’t hold your breath – they’re going to struggle tomorrow.

 

Prediction

The Widnes pitch is notoriously tough one to play on, however, Featherstone showed they like an artificial track last week down in London so the surface shouldn’t come into it too much. What will be pivotal though, is the gulf in standard between the two forward packs; Widnes will dominate in what should be a routine win at home against a Championship standard side. Widnes Vikings by 20.

 

19-Man Squads

Widnes Vikings: Bridge, Buchanan, Burke, Cahill, Craven, Dudson, Gerrard, Hanbury, Houston, Johnstone, Manuokafoa, Marsh, Mellor, Olbison, Runciman, Thompson, Walker, White, Whitley.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman, Taulapapa, Briscoe, Briggs, Thackeray, Griffin, Carlile, Davies, Moore, Tagg, Turner, Wildie, Johnson, Lockwood, Hardcastle, Brooks, Farrell, Ormondroyd, Baldwinson.