Super League: St Helens 21-20 Hull Kingston Rovers

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Regan Grace try for St Helens
Regan Grace’s try against Hull KR was his sixth score of the Super League season
St Helens (8) 21
Tries: Grace, Welsby, Walmsley Goals: Coote 4 Drop-goal: Fages
Hull KR (6) 20
Try: Hadley, Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Goals: Dagger 4

Theo Fages’ drop-goal sent St Helens back to the top of Super League with a golden-point extra-time win against Hull Kingston Rovers.

Regan Grace’s try put Saints 8-6 up at half-time after Dean Hadley’s opener.

Both sides then traded tries with Jack Welsby and Alex Walmsley going over for Saints and Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Ethan Ryan scoring for Rovers.

A William Dagger penalty sent the game to extra time, only for Fages’ kick to win it while Saints were a man down.

A high hit from Kevin Naiqama on Kane Linnett allowed Dagger to tee up the kick to level scores in the final minute of normal time.

It also meant Kristian Woolf’s side returned to the field a man short with Naiqama in the sin-bin and, despite Lachlan Coote failing to land Saints’ first shot of a drop-goal, Fages ensured the Merseyside club made it six wins from six since the competition’s restart.

For the third time in 12 days Tony Smith’s Hull KR produced a display that belied their lowly place near the foot of the table, having pushed Saints a fortnight earlier before going on to beat Wigan Warriors when they sat atop Super League a week ago.

With an astonishing early defensive display against a relentless Saints attack, Rovers limited the hosts to just two points from the boot of Coote in the opening 34 minutes.

And they did more than just resist Saints in the first half hour, with Hadley getting on the end of a short ball from Jordan Abdull to finish a rare but well-worked chance from the visitors.

Rovers’ defence, however, was breached soon after, as Grace produced a diving finish in the left corner to help ensure the champions reclaimed the lead with a Coote conversion.

Teenage back Welsby made the most of a cut-out pass from Coote and room on the right to add to Saints’ advantage immediately after the break, and only a forward pass denied him a second try in four minutes to start the half.

A high kick from Mikey Lewis, which Grace failed to come down with under pressure, allowed ex-New Zealand centre Kenny-Dowall to pounce on his first try in Super League.

Walmsley’s eighth try of the season helped put the champions eight points up with 19 minutes remaining, only for Ryan’s finely finished effort in the 75th minute to set up the thrilling finish to a hugely entertaining game.

St Helens: Coote; Welsby, Naiqama, Simm, Grace; Fages, Lomax; Graham, Roby, Walmsley, Bentley, Taia, Knowles.

Replacements: Peyroux, Lees, Amor, Smith.

Hull KR: Dagger; Ryan, Kenny-Dowall, Linnett, Minikin; Abdull, Lewis; Hauraki, Litten, Lawler, Storton, Hadley, Minchella.

Replacements: Parcell, Murray, Garbutt, Peteru.

Referee: Jack Smith (RFL)



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