Hull KR boost Super League play-off hopes with victory over Wigan

Rowan Milnes (25) of Hull KR celebrates his try

Hull KR strengthened their play-off position with a 26-14 win over Wigan in front of 6,230 fans at Craven Park.

Tony Smith’s side outscored their visitors by five tries to three and narrowed the gap on the Warriors in fourth in the Betfred Super League table.

The win owed much to the determination of captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall, who suffered a first-half leg injury but returned after the break to ensure his side never surrendered a lead they had taken within five minutes of the start.

A strong second-half performance by Rovers prevented the Warriors from scoring and gave further evidence of the home side’s top-six credentials.

Shortly before kick-off it was announced that Neil Hudgell had taken the club off sale and would continue his 15-year tenure as Rovers owner and the team responded with a fine win.

Rovers grabbed the lead with five minutes gone as Albert Vete crashed over from close range after Jake Bibby had given up possession with a mistake at the play the ball. A Ben Crooks kick made it 6-0.

Rovers added a second try through Rowan Milnes 11 minutes in after good work down the right by wing Ethan Ryan and Crooks made it 12-0 with his second successful kick.

Vete was held up on the line and then Brad Takairangi was injured as he was stopped just short as Rovers tried to press their advantage, Ryan getting in on the act when he caught a kick from Milnes before spinning away from a tackler and going over in the corner midway through the half.

Wigan pulled a try back through Bibby in the right corner after 23 minutes, but a missed Harry Smith conversion meant it was 16-4.

Liam Marshall scored Wigan’s second try after Crooks had spilled a Jackson Hastings kick and Smith’s conversion brought the visitors back to 16-10 behind just after the half hour.

Wigan claimed a third try just before the break as Marshall dived to squeeze in on the left for his second score to make it 16-14 at half-time.

Mistakes from both sides made for a scrappy start to the second half, but Rovers were not able to punish successive offsides which took them to the Wigan line as Takairaingi’s grubber kick was too strong.

A Wigan high tackle again relieved the pressure on the home side and a Kenny-Dowall break set up the field position for the all-important first score of the second half.

Ryan Hall’s cross-field run and pass put in Kane Linnett and he fought off two tacklers to touch down, but Crooks’ kick hit the upright as Rovers led 20-14 after 57 minutes.

Rovers pounced again a minute later and this time it was Jez Litten who profited from a Matty Storton run from defence, Crooks making the kick to stretch the lead to 12 points.

Hastings was denied a try with five minutes left because of a knock-on in the build-up and Rovers were able to see out a comfortable win despite a late yellow card for Takairangi.

Liam Farrell was shown a yellow card in the dying seconds for throwing an elbow, with Matt Parcell also ordered off by referee Liam Moore for his part in the same incident.

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