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Rugby League: Rovers hunt down Rhinos!
LEEDS RHINOS 36 – 38 HULL KINGSTON ROVERS (Saturday September 1)
A 22-point haul from Craig Hall, including a hat-trick of tries, gave the Robins a huge win over the reigning Super League champions Leeds Rhinos for back-to-back Qualifier victories.
Tim Sheens welcomed back Shaun Lunt after the skipper was a late withdrawal from the side that defeated the Toronto Wolfpack. Justin Carney made his return from a troublesome ankle injury sustained against Widnes in July, while Maurice Blair was available again after serving the two-match ban picked up against Hull FC. He replaced James Donaldson, who broke a bone in his foot against the Wolfpack, and Joel Tomkins missed out through illness.
In a see-saw encounter, Rovers came from behind three times before late tries to Chris Atkin and Junior Vaivai finally got them over the winning line.
The Red and Whites had led 16-10 heading towards half-time, thanks to Hall’s first score, and one each from Adam Quinlan and Rob Mulhern. However two quick-fire Leeds tries saw the home side lead going into the break.
Hall’s second and third tries edged Rovers ahead again, but Matt Parcell and Tom Briscoe’s second swung the pendulum back in the home side’s favour before the Robins came home strong in the final quarter.
Head coach Sheens said: “It was a fair old contest. The lead changed a number of times but we kept sticking in there. They’re a good team and we didn’t expect an easy game.
“I don’t think there was too much between the two sides. Both teams tried hard and there were some great tries from both sides. At the end of the day, we kept putting in the effort and I thought we deserved to stay in the game. It was always going to come down to who got the bounce at the back end and it was us.
“I just hoped Danny had got over for that try towards the end. He really wanted that and I wanted that for him, and it would have let me enjoy the last minute as well!”