After picking up their second win against Leeds the previous week, Hull KR welcomed French outfit Catalan Dragons to the recently renamed Lightstream Stadium. The Red & Whites were looking to pick up two more points before reaching the halfway mark of the Super League season against a team that are known to struggle away from home.
The Dragons however did not look to be struggling early on, as after a good defensive first set with the Robins keeping the Dragons penned back deep in their own half, Myler kicked a 40/20 on the last play. With the Dragons now in great field position, Gigot looped a pass over the top of Dixon and Broughton went in at the corner.
Insult was soon added to injury when Richards put his foot in touch whilst collecting (and knocking on) Cockayne’s restart to earn Catalan a penalty and more field position. From the penalty, Catalan probed out wide, before Bosc produced a cross-field kick towards Sio. Richards palmed it back, and Gigot sent Duport in at the corner. Richards converted and the Dragons lead 10-0 with just over five minutes played.
After that try, Rovers looked to strike back. Marsh threaded a grubber through, but it was mopped up by Myler. The Scrum-half then broke before being hauled down by Marsh, but on the next tackle, Glenn Stewart took on the Rovers’ defence out wide before offloading to Broughton, who went fourty metres to score alongside the posts. Richards added the easy conversion to give the Dragons a sixteen-nil lead.
Rovers were soon back on the attack after Catalan were put on team warning for continued interference at the Play the Ball. From the resulting penalty, Marsh sent Greenwood storming through a gap, only for Tony Gigot to produce an incredible tackle to bring the makeshift Second-rower down and force him to knock on. The decision went upstairs to the video referee, and he confirmed that Greenwood had lost the ball before the line.
With that Hull KR chance gone begging Catalan went back up field through big runs from Taylor and Mason looking to punish Rovers once more. On the last, Myler hoisted up a bomb towards Dixon. Inu chased, jumped over Dixon, collected the ball and scored once again for Dragons, and more salt was added to the Robins’ wound when Mounis somehow collected an offload from Julian Bousquet to score under the posts just before half time. Richards converted both to give the Dragons a dominant lead.
HT: Hull Kingston Rovers 0-28 Catalan Dragons
The Robins needed to majorly improve in the second half to have any chance of taking something away from this game.
Catalan were not willing to let their lead slip though, as Myler scooted from dummy-half close to the Rovers line and took advantage of some weak and possibly tired defence to score. Richards converted his fifth of the day as the Dragons all-but sealed two points with not long gone in the second half.
Nothing appeared to be working for Hull KR, and that showed soon after the try when Gigot was hauled down by Thornley after making a break, and Cockayne desperately trying to slow the play down was penalised for being offside and sent to the sin-bin for ten minutes.
Catalan had several sets before finally being able to crack through one final time. After being camped on the Rovers’ line for several tackles, Willie Mason finally crashed over from close-range and the try was given after going to the Video Referee.
That would be as bad as it got for the Robins as they did well to repel several further Catalan attacks, and although it was a massive score-line, the second half was much improved from what was an abysmal first half performance.
FT: Hull Kingston Rovers 0-40 Catalan Dragons
From the Kick off, you couldn’t help but feel that it wasn’t going to be the Robin’s night. Mylers exquisite 40-20 on the first set leading to a try, quickly followed by the second following the ball being legally deemed as in touch on the restart set the tone of the game, and even after five minutes, Rovers faced an uphill battle to rescue anything from this fixture.
The 40 points conceded in this game tells its own story of poor luck, tackling and decision making by Rovers, however it is the lack of points scored which was the greater concern. Time after time the Rovers players ran at the Dragons, but their resilient defence held fast; and whilst there is no doubt that the Catalan defensive effort played a massive part in this, questions need to be asked regarding Rovers attacking structures, and leadership within the game play. Rovers seemed to revert to their one dimensional flat attacking line which meant that the runners were easily picked off before hitting full pace, and when they did try something ‘out of the box’ the ball regularly ended up on the floor, or in the hands of a Catalans Player.
Hull KR have improved in recent weeks, and there does seem to be a togetherness within the team that we haven’t seen for some time, but at this time they appear structurally to be a long way off the standard required for the top 8, and with 5 points from a possible 22 after Round 11, it looks a long hard road to the end of the regular season.