Tony Smith warns Hull KR improvement ‘going to take time’ ahead of derby

Hull KR coach Tony Smith insists 2020 is not a write-off as Super League’s bottom side seek the boost of claiming local bragging rights in the Hull derby.

Following contact with someone who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, Smith had to self-isolate and watch from home as his side lost to Castleford and Wakefield in the space of four days to fall to the foot of the table.

The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the withdrawal of Toronto Wolfpack means Rovers are spared the threat of relegation, and Smith is keen to build for the future as his side prepare to face sixth-placed Hull FC on Thursday.

“No, this year isn’t a write-off,” said Smith, who has now twice tested negative for Covid-19 but must wait until Monday before being allowed back to work.

“We’ve learned a whole lot about a lot of players.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys coming through that have gained some great experience – some hard experiences and some tough lessons along the way – but it’s been great for them to get out there and find out what it’s about at the highest level.

“To turn this programme around at Hull KR is not going to be an overnight thing, it’s a gradual thing that’s going to take time and we’re trying to make sure the young talent coming through is going to be there for the future as well as identifying some players that can come in and help us in the immediate.”

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