Hull KR perform comeback to bite Salford – talking points & ratings

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Hull KR progressed to the Challenge Cup quarter-finals after beating Salford 32-18 at the AJ Bell Stadium. 

Salford coach Ian Watson made two changes to his side that beat Leeds last week. Ken Sio and Josh Wood came in for Ben Nakubuwai and Josh Jones.

Tim Sheens made three changes to his Hull KR outfit that lost to St Helens last time out. Joel Tomkins, Ryan Lannon and Owen Harrison replaced Antoni Maria, Shaun Lunt and Will Oakes.

Kane Linnett put the Rovers in the lead, before tries from Krisnan Inu, Niall Evalds and Kris Welham put the Red Devils in a 14-6 advantage at the break.

Inu notched two penalty goals for Salford in the second half, before Hull KR launched an impressive comeback.

Josh Drinkwater, Junior Vaivai, Danny Addy and Weller Hauraki scored tries in the second to secure a 32-18 victory and make the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Three talking points

Opportunity missed for Salford

The Red Devils will be bitterly disappointed that they have been knocked out of the Challenge Cup because they were the best team for the majority of the game against the Rovers.

But their final execution just wasn’t there. They were good when they had the ball in hand and created plenty of opportunities, but they lacked that final key to send them over the line.

The right edge was impressive for Salford but they didn’t take the ball down that side enough. They tried to tire Rovers through the middle too many times instead of shipping it to the edges.

Hull KR completed high

Both sides struggled to complete their sets in the first half and there were a lot of handling errors from Salford and Hull KR, but it changed in the second half, for one side at least.

The Robins had 92% set completion in the second half and if you complete your sets that highly, then you are always going to have a good chance of winning a game.

They might not have been the best side on the day but they took their chances and came back to bite Salford. It wasn’t their best performance but they got the job done.

McGuire still the general

It’s a shame that Danny McGuire is retiring at the end of the year because he has still got it. The 36-year-old is still the influential half-back he has always been.

McGuire was dropped from the international scene far too early with his last performance for England coming in 2009, when he was just 26 years of age.

The former Great Britain star was brilliant for Rovers when it came to last tackle plays at Salford. He directed his side around the park outstandingly well in the second half.

Line-ups & ratings

Salford: Evalds (7); Olpherts (8), Inu (8), Welham (7), Sio (7); Lui (7), Hastings (8); Mossop (7), Lussick (7), Dudson (7), Bibby (6), Griffin (7), Burke (7). Subs: Walker (8), Murray (6), Wood (6), McCarthy (7).

Tries: Inu, Evalds, Welham Goals: Inu 3/5

Hull KR: Hall (7); Shaw (6), Keinhorst (5), Crooks (7), Vaivai (7); McGuire (9), Drinkwater (8); Harrison (6), Addy (7), Mulhern (8), Linnett (7), Tomkins (8), Lawler (8). Subs: Lannon (6), Hauraki (7), Atkin (6), Rooks (5).

Tries: Linnett, Drinkwater, Vaivai, Addy, Hauraki Goals: Shaw 6/6

Drew’s views

Salford were the better team on the day, in my opinion. They had plenty of chances to score but they just didn’t take them as they coughed up the ball up near the Hull KR line several times.

But credit must go to Hull KR, they came from being 16-6 behind to perform a brilliant comeback in the second half. It just goes to show that sometimes going back to basics is the best outcome.

The Challenge Cup provides us with plenty of entertaining ties every single year and this was one to remember. It was a shame it wasn’t on television because it was an awesome spectacle.

Elsewhere in the Challenge Cup

Catalans Dragons 62-6 Doncaster

Bradford Bulls 24-22 Leeds Rhinos