MATCH REPORT: Rovers defeat Wolfpack in Toronto

Category: On The Pitch

MATCH REPORT: Rovers defeat Wolfpack in Toronto

TORONTO 22 – 28 HULL KR: Rovers defeat Wolfpack in Toronto


In Short

Hull KR secured their first win of the Super 8s Qualifiers with a crucial 28-22 victory over Toronto Wolfpack in Canada.

In a tough encounter against the Betfred Championship League Leaders, tries from Junior Vaivai, Craig Hall, Chris Atkin and Chris Clarkson proved enough to secure the two points at the Lamport Stadium.

It was a gutsy win for the Robins, who overcame the loss of Shaun Lunt despite him making the trip across the Atlantic, to hold their nerve having fallen behind early in the game and then once again at the start of the second half when a 10-minute blitz from the Wolfpack saw them overturn an eight-point deficit at the break.


Match Report

After a scrappy start from both sides, it was the home team which opened the scoring in the 12th minute as winger Nick Rawsthorne finished some nice hands in the right corner after a couple of repeat sets had set up the field position. Gareth O’Brien added the extras from the touchline to make it 6-0 to the Wolfpack.

Rovers had an opportunity to respond almost immediately after back-to-back penalties pushed them onto the opposition try line, but Craig Hall couldn’t take Junior Vaivai’s pass after the centre had created the opening with some magical footwork to get on the outside of his man.

It had shown that chances were available to Rovers with ball in hand, however, and they struck for their first try of the game with a wonderful length of the field effort that turned defence into attack. It was full back Adam Quinlan at the heart of it, as he first pulled down opposite number O’Brien close to the KR line as Toronto looked to extend their lead, before quickly retreating to take a dangerous grubber underneath his own posts and launch a devastating countering run through the middle of the field, eventually popping a lovely ball over the top of the chasing Mason Caton-Brown to find Vaivai in support for the finish.

Danny Tickle added the extras and he was on target again early in the second quarter when the Robins crossed for their second long-range effort of the match. Again, it came with Toronto on the attack as Hall intercepted O’Brien’s attempted cut-out pass and showed a clean pair of heels to scorch up the flank and give his side a 12-6 advantage.

Both teams were looking vulnerable in defence and chances came and went at either end of the pitch before the next points of the game came via the boot of Hall after Vaivai was held down in the tackle having run a lovely line onto a Danny McGuire pass.

Hall’s error on the first tackle from the kick-off then put Rovers immediately on the back foot as the half-time hooter approached but the Robins survived with some excellent scrambling defence to take an eight-point lead into the break.


Half-time: Toronto Wolfpack 6-14 Hull KR


The start to the second half was always going to be important and it was the Championship side which made the better one as they dominated possession in the opening five minutes to cut the deficit immediately. A penalty and a drop out gave them the opportunity to pile on the pressure and it was back rower Andrew Dixon who capitalised from a neat switch play to crash over by the side of the ruck, with O’Brien converting.

From the kick-off, Chase Stanley and Rawsthorne combined well down the right to continue the momentum before Ben Crooks knocked down an attempted cut-out pass on the opposite flank to give the Wolfpack their fifth consecutive set, which resulted in a penalty against Chris Atkin for interference and O’Brien’s third goal of the afternoon to level the scores at 14-14.

There was no respite for the Robins as again Toronto worked it downfield on the next set and Joe Wardill could only knock on a high bouncing ball into the arms of James Greenwood, with the offside decision giving the home outfit the opportunity to regain the lead at 16-14.

Rovers by this stage were desperate to get their hands on the ball for the first time in the second half and they did it after nine minutes as Hall pouched a towering bomb before counter-attacking up the wing to take play into the Toronto 30. A few tackles later Vaivai went close to scoring his second off the game but couldn’t ground the ball as he was held up over the line by three Toronto defenders.

Without Shaun Lunt, Chris Clarkson was deputising at hooker alongside Tommy Lee but KR looked disjointed for much of the third quarter before striking back with a neat move started by Clarkson out of dummy on the hour mark. He found Atkin in space down the left who fed James Greenwood into a half gap and the second rower’s offload out the tackle was superb to Quinlan, who in turn found Atkin in support to go over by the posts.

Clarkson was then involved again as he crossed for his side’s second try in as many minutes. McGuire’s attempted inside pass was knocked down by the Wolfpack defence with the tackle count restarting, but Clarkson needed just one as he collected the loose ball to make the break and fend off O’Brien to score in the right corner.Tickle added the extras to both tries and Rovers led 26-16 with 15 minutes remaining.

With the Wolfpack now forced to chase the game, a couple of errors begin to creep into their play and Rovers had the opportunity to put the game to bed with nine minutes remaining as great footwork from Ben Kavanagh helped him break clear, but Nick Scruton couldn’t gather his offload with the line at his mercy.

It gave Toronto a chance to work their way back into the contest, a penalty for a shoulder charge gifted them the field position to strike and Dixon needed no second invitation as once again he sliced through from a flat pass to score next to the sticks, reducing the gap to just 26-22 heading into a very nervy final six minutes.

However, the momentum was swinging back and forth and an error from the Wolfpack on the next set gave KR the chance to stretch their lead back to six points following a high shot on McGuire. Hall stepped up to land the goal from close to half way.

Toronto went short from the kick-off but were guilty of taking Crooks out in the air. From the resulting possession, McGuire had a drop goal attempt charged down and a Tickle knock on ensured their was just one score in it heading into the final minute. The Wolfpack launched forward and kept the ball alive but a huge tackle on Adam Sidlow forced the final error of an enthralling contest and allowed Rovers to tick down the clock to secure their first victory of the Super 8s Qualifiers.


Team News

Captain Shaun Lunt and Liam Salter were the two to miss out from the 19-man squad which made the trip to Toronto, with Lunt an unexpected absentee having failed to overcome a knock.

Prop Mose Masoe was available though as he made his return from a two-match suspension, whilst Joe Wardill started on the right wing as he was drafted into the back line in place of Ben Crooks.

Rovers will expect to have Todd Carney, Justin Carney, Maurice Blair and Lee Jewitt all available for their next match in two week’s time.


Toronto Wolfpack: 31 Gareth O’Brien, 23 Nick Rawsthorne, 4 Gary Wheeler, 33 Chase Stanley, 34 Mason Caton-Brown, 6 Josh McCrone, 17 Blake Wallace, 32 Darcy Lussick, 9 Bob Beswick, 10 Ashton Sims, 11 Andrew Dixon, 24 Cory Patterson, 29 Jacob Emmitt

Subs: 14 Andy Ackers, 8 Jack Buchanan, 15 Adam Sidlow, 22 Richard Whiting

Tries: Dixon (2), Rawsthorne

Goals: O’Brien (5/5)

Hull KR: 1 Adam Quinlan, 41 Craig Hall, 42 Ben Crooks, 2 Junior Vaivai, 26 Joe Wardill, 24 Chris Atkin, 7 Danny McGuire, 8 Nick Scruton, 19 Tommy Lee, 21 Robbie Mulhern, 12 James Greenwood, 39 Joel Tomkins, 34 Danny Tickle

Subs: 10 Mose Masoe, 13 Ben Kavanagh, 15 James Donaldson, 17 Chris Clarkson

Tries: Vaivai, Hall, Atkin, Clarkson

Goals: Tickle (4/4), Hall (2/2)

Referee: J Child

Attendance: 7,540


Man of the Match

Full back Adam Quinlan was outstanding once again as he snuffed out a number of Toronto attacks and Chris Clarkson made an important contribution off the bench in an unfamiliar position at hooker, but it was Craig Hall who came up with the key plays for the Robins. His first half try and a timely run in the second half halted the Wolfpack’s momentum, whilst his long-range penalty gave KR just enough breathing space in the final minutes.


What’s Next?

Following a break for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final, Rovers are next in action against Leeds Rhinos in round three of the Qualifiers at Headingley on Saturday, 1st September, kick-off 3.15pm.

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