Hull FC v Widnes Vikings: Impressive Connor challenged to maintain the quality

HULL FC head coach Lee Radford has challenged Jake Connor to maintain the form that saw him make such an impressive Test debut.

England's Jake Connor his first international try on debut against New Zealand with Stefan Ratchford. Picture: Allan McKenzie/

The centre is in line to face Widnes Vikings tonight just six days after making his England bow against New Zealand in Denver.

Connor, who came on at stand-off, scored one try and created another two before departing with a shoulder problem but Radford says he is fit to play again along with England colleague Scott Taylor.

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“I thought they both performed really well in difficult conditions and have done themselves the world of good,” he said, prop Taylor having come in at late notice to feature in the victory over the Kiwis.

Hull FC's head coach Lee Radford.

“Jake is obviously a quality player and the game was suited to how he plays as well. He needs to maintain the form he’s in now.

“They have been good this week. They had a bit of a trek on Sunday flying to New York and down to Heathrow and a taxi back up to Hull.

“The preparation has been a challenge but they will both feature (against Widnes).”
Radford joked: “Jake got a stinger on his shoulder. But I think it was tactical because he was about to go into hooker.”

Hull have back-rows Sika Manu and Dean Hadley returning although they have seen prop Chris Green go down with an infected elbow during the international break and are missing seven regulars.

Radford, though, is still demanding more from all of their players after they lost at home to Wigan Warriors almost a fortnight ago leaving them four points adrift of the top-four.

“They have all been told where they need to improve,” he said.

“Collectively we need to be better but there are some players who haven’t been performing to their potential.

“Whoever is out is irrelevant. The 17 that are in have improvements to make as well. From some we need some significant improvements.

“We are where we are (fifth) for a reason. If we slip any further down the order then we are looking to make the Eights.”

Bottom-placed Widnes have lost their last 11 league matches but Radford said: “We can’t afford to be complacent.

“If we are then (fourth-placed) Warrington probably go six above us and that will change the whole season.”