MATCH REPORT | St Helens 36-24 Hull KR

Saints came from behind to keep their place at the top of the table against Hull Kingston Rovers.



Saints made some unexpected changes, with James Roby and Alex Walmsley not being risked for knocks while Zeb Taia and Mark Percival celebrated the birth of their children. They were replaced by Aaron Smith, James Bentley, Kyle Amor and 18 year old Jack Welsby. Danny McGuire failed to prove his fitness and therefore missed out.

It looked as if Saints were going to ease to victory as they raced into a 16-0 lead within 20 minutes. Firstly, Dominique Peyroux continued his recent fine form as he dropped the shoulder twice to break through the Hull KR defence to set up Lachlan Coote for the opening try.

Minutes later England academy international Welsby scored his first professional try for Saints in the corner to extend their lead.

Their third try came from Luke Thompson as he found a gap from a Morgan Knowles pass to cross from 20 metres out.

You could have expected Hull KR to fall away and get beat easily but to their credit they fought back. Scottish international Kane Linnett got Rovers on the scoreboard from close range.

Winger Will Oakes then scored from a cut out pass from Craig Hall to put pressure on Saints. They then went ahead through Kane Linnett’s second try as he ran over the top of Coote to make it 16 all. Ryan Shaw converted the try to put the robins 18-16 ahead at half time.

Their lead didn’t last long after half time as Coote levelled the scores from a simple penalty in front of posts.

Hull KR regained their lead as Shaun Lunt latched on to a a mistake by Jonny Lomax from a Josh Drinkwater grubber to make it 24-18 with 30 minutes to go.

Saints stepped it up a couple of gears as Kyle Amor once again tied the score with an effort from close range.

Aaron Smith then showed what he could do at hooker as he threw a dummy and went on his own to give Saints the lead.

Saints confirmed victory from what is becoming a trademark try for Regan Grace as he scored in the corner from a sweeping move from the scrum.



Good effort from Hull KR

Credit has to be given to Hull KR for their comeback. It could have got messy for them as they went 16-0 down but they managed to fight back. They have been hampered by injuries this season and this has caused a lack of consistency. However there were plenty of positives to take from this for coach Tim Sheens despite the defeat.

A blessing in disguise

Justin Holbrook doesn’t often change around his team but this week they were forced to with four changes. With their next three games being Catalan away, Warrington at home and then their Good Friday battle with Wigan maybe the rest could do key players like Roby and Walmsley a world of good.

Chance for Danny Richardson?

Justin Holbrook sees no reason to change a winning team but has always claimed he won’t risk players with knocks. Theo Fages went off early in the second half therefore there could be a chance for Richardson to stake his claim in the number seven jersey next week away to Catalan.

Paulo stands up

Saints have yet to see the best of Joseph Paulo so far this season and steady would be the best word to describe him but when Theo Fages went off he put his hand up and took the responsibility of having a more ball playing role.  He set up Kyle Amor with an excellent short ball.



St Helens 36
Tries: Coote, Welsby, Thompson, Amor, Smith, Grace
Goals: Coote (6)
Drop Goals: n/a

Hull KR 24
Tries: Linnett (2), Oakes, Lunt
Goals: Shaw (4)
Drop Goals: n/a



St Helens: Coote, Makinson, Naqaima, Welsby, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Lees, Smith, Thompson, Bentley, Peyroux, Knowles.

Interchanges: Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Amor, Ashworth.

Hull KR: Hall, Shaw, Keinhorst, Crooks, Oakes, Atkin, Drinkwater, Masoe, Lee, Lawler, Tomkins, Linnett, Hauraki

Interchanges: Garbutt, Vavai, Addy, Lunt.

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