A late try from Lewis Tierney completed a comeback for Catalans as they snatched an 18-16 win at Hull KR.
Tim Sheens made three changes to his Hull KR outfit that won at Wakefield Trinity last week. Joel Tomkins, Ryan Shaw and Adam Rooks replaced James Greenwood, Tommy Lee and Lee Jewitt. Rooks made his first-team debut for the Rovers.
Steve McNamara made two changes to his Catalans outfit that were beaten by Salford Red Devils last time out. Tony Gigot and Lucas Albert came in for Micky McIlorum and Lambert Belmas.
Craig Hall put the Rovers 2-0 ahead midway through the first half with a penalty goal, while Sam Tomkins also struck a penalty goal for Catalans to level the score at 2-2 at the break.
Dragons duo Greg Bird and Sam Moa clashed heads in the first half and didn’t return after failing concussion assessments.
It might have been a tryless first half, but it only took three minutes after the second half restart for the first try to be scored. Weller Hauraki sailed onto a flat ball from Chris Atkin to score for the hosts.
Tomkins extended Hull KR’s lead to 12-2 in the 49thminute, before the Dragons tied the score with quickfire tries from Brayden Wiliame and Albert on the hour.
The Rovers went into the lead for a third time in the game thanks to a Hall full-lengther but they couldn’t hold onto their lead as Tierney latched onto a Samisoni Langi grubber late on. Tomkins held his nerve and added the conversion to snatch an 18-16 win for the French side.
Three talking points
Hull KR and Catalans need consistency
It’s clear to see from the game that both Hull KR and Catalans need to strive for an 80-minute performance, rather than just performing well in certain patches.
The Rovers were ahead on three separate occasions but allowed the Dragons to come back into the game every single time and ultimately paid the price.
Catalans want to build on last year’s cup success in 2019 but they won’t achieve anything if they don’t produce consistent performances. They got the two points at Hull KR, but they can’t allow themselves to late it so late.
Catalans centres impressive
The standout performances for the Dragons came from Tonga international Langi and Fiji star Wiliame.
Langi came up with a number of good breaks in the game and proved to be a real threat for the Dragons going forward because his carries are as powerful as one of a back-rower.
Wiliame’s dazzling footwork proved to be a thorn in Hull KR’s side all afternoon and he made good metres for Catalans when coming out of yardage.
Robins duo rejuvenate careers
Tomkins and Hauraki have been enjoyed outstanding starts to the season at Hull KR and their moves to Hull KR have been very beneficial.
Tomkins left hometown club Wigan Warriors midway through last season and some had said his career became stale, but he has proved to everyone that he has still got it. He looks fitter than ever and has been a great addition for the Robins, where he is now captain.
Hauraki also came under criticism last year from some fans due to him being out of favour at Salford, as well as suffering relegation from Super League with Widnes Vikings at the back end of the season. He has been great for KR in 2019 and provides plenty of power to Sheens’ pack.
Line-ups and ratings
Hull KR: Dagger (7); Hall (8), Keinhorst (7), Vaivai (6), Oakes (7); McGuire (7), Drinkwater (6); Masoe (8), Addy (7), Lawler (6), Linnett (6), Tomkins (8), Hauraki (8). Subs: Garbutt (7), Shaw (N/A), Atkin (7), Rooks (6).
Tries: Hauraki, Tomkins, Hall Goals: Hall 2/4
Catalans: Tomkins (8); Yaha (7), Langi (9), Wiliame (9), Tierney (7); Gigot (7), Smith (6); Casty (8), Albert (7), Moa (5), Edwards (7), Whitley (6), Bird (5). Subs: Bousquet (7), Jullien (8), Goudemand (7), Baitieri (7).
Tries: Wiliame, Albert, Tierney Goals: Tomkins 3/5
Both teams showed glimpses of what they are capable of, but then they also came up with a lot of errors as well.
Hull KR will be disappointed that they didn’t hold onto their lead in the second half, while Catalans will be counting their lucky stars.
If both teams can produce a professional 80-minute performance, they could beat anyone on their day. Improvements need to be made in both camps though, there is no doubt about that.
Elsewhere in Super League
Castleford Tigers grinded out a 24-20 win over Salford Red Devils at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Nathan Massey, Jordan Rankin, Greg Eden and Jesse Sene-Lefao went over for the Tigers.