Catalans Dragons v Hull KR: Robins already acclimatised thanks to UK heatwave reckons boss Tony Smith

TONY SMITH believes the recent UK hot spell will reap benefits for his relegation-threatened Hull KR side as they ready themselves to face Catalans Dragons in Saturday’s crucial game at Perpignan.

The Robins, who sit joint-bottom with London Broncos and Huddersfield Giants, have been putting the finishing touches to preparations ahead of flying out to the south of France tomorrow. Head coach Smith said practicing in the baking conditions here will help for what lies ahead.

He said: “I think so, and it has been hot, particularly here on Monday; we trained in the sunshine and it was tough work. It was good prep’ for Catalans.

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“Most have played there before so know what it’s like but any time the degrees are over 26 I think it is tough work for rugby league.

Feeling the heat - literally - Hull KR coach, Tony Smith. PIC: Steve Riding

“It’s going to be in the early 30s over there on Saturday. It’ll be testing but it’s a challenge and you have to overcome some of that. It’s a good opportunity for us to respond as a team to our last performance.”

Rovers’ disappointing 38-10 home loss against fellow strugglers Wakefield Trinity has, with just three games remaining, left them in trouble of a second relegation since 2016.

But Smith maintained: “Everyone is positive.

“No doubt different people handle it differently and some individuals will probably tell you it’s a testing time for their resolve.

Hull KR's Craig Hall faces a late fitness check ahead of the game with Catalans Dragons. PIC: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

“Some others are fine. It varies. Every human being handles them differently.

“We’re approaching it in the same way – each game we come across is the biggest game of the year and that’s how it’s been since round one and continues to be.”

Catalans are still chasing a top-five place but are wildly inconsistent having lost to bottom-placed London in Perpignan in their last outing, a result that has thrown the relegation battle wide open.

“They have had some challenges themselves this year in terms of injuries and suspensions,” said Smith, who will assess the fitness of both Craig Hall and Mitch Garbutt before naming his 19-man travelling squad.

Mitch Garbutt faces a late fitness check before Hull KR's clash with Catalans Dragons. PIC: Allan McKenzie/

“It’s not easy to get everyone fit and healthy and in good form all the way through. t’s been a challenge for nearly every team in the competition.

“I was going to say aside from (leaders) St Helens but we saw even last week (Saints’ Wembley loss against Warrington) what a challenge it can be. Everyone can be guilty of it.”

Rovers are resigned to being without full-back Adam Quinlan (abductor) until, at best, the final game of the campaign but George Lawler and Matt Parcell could return against London next Friday.