Looking Back – Rovers Advance To 2015 Final
Another memorable encounter with the Wolves was the 2015 Challenge Cup semi-final at Headingley. Despite the driving rain, it was a close and enthralling game.
Rovers got off to the worst possible start when Wolves’ huge kick-off was allowed to bounce dead, and Atkins scored from the drop-out. From 6-0 down and looking shaky, Rovers began to fight their way back into the game, initially on the back of some determined defence that stopped the Wolves adding to their lead. Then, starting to apply some pressure of their own, Rovers turned the game around with two tries in five minutes in the second quarter. First, Albert Kelly, Maurice Blair and Kieran Dixon combined brilliantly and Josh Mantellato demonstrated his finishing strength to score near the corner. Ken Sio then spectacularly plucked Kelly’s towering kick from Ormsby’s grasp to score the Robins’ try of the season. Mantellato’s kick put Rovers 10-6 ahead and he increased the lead to six with a penalty before the break.
After a Wolves effort was ruled out, Rovers scored the all-important first try of the half. French second-rower Kevin Larroyer, seemingly tackled near the line, somehow managed to reach out and touch down despite the attentions of several defenders. Mantellato’s conversion and subsequent penalty gave the Robins a fourteen-point lead on the hour. But, predictably, Wolves fought back and narrowed the gap to just two points with ten minutes to go. It promised to be the longest ten minutes of the season. But, with four minutes left, Adam Walker drove for the line and slipped the ball to hooker Shaun Lunt, who was surrounded by defenders and seemed to have nowhere to go. But, like Larroyer, he somehow managed to get the ball down on the line. Referee Silverwood was unsure whether it was a double movement and referred it to the video ref, James Child, who awarded the try after several viewings. It was the cue for wild celebrations from over 6,000 Rovers’ fans in the ground, which continued in the rain after Mantellato’s conversion, and long after the final hooter had sounded.
Rovers: Kieran Dixon; Ken Sio, Liam Salter, Kris Welham, Josh Mantellato; Maurice Blair, Albert Kelly; Tony Puletua, Shaun Lunt, Adam Walker, Graeme Horne, Kevin Larroyer, Tyrone McCarthy. Bench: James Green, Dane Tilse, James Donaldon, John Boudebza.
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