Hull KR ‘desperate’ to play - regardless of opposition says coach Tony Smith

Hull KR head coach Tony Smith is undaunted by the prospect of visiting Super League leaders Catalans Dragons at late notice.

Lay off: After five weeks without a match Hull Kr are eager to face league leaders Catalans Dragons. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Lay off: After five weeks without a match Hull Kr are eager to face league leaders Catalans Dragons. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

With tonight’s scheduled opponents St Helens ruled out by Covid, it was confirmed on Wednesday that Rovers would instead visit Perpignan tomorrow.

The East Yorkshire club have not played for more than a month due to pandemic issues of their own and Catalans are on an eight-match winning run.

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But Smith insisted: “It’s a challenge we’re looking forward to.

“We were going to be playing one of the best teams in the comp’ anyway had the game gone ahead for Friday.

“We’re rolling our sleeves up and getting ready for another big game.

“We haven’t played for five weeks so we’re jumping out of our skins to play.

“Who it was against and where it was didn’t really matter to us. We just want to play and appreciate the opportunity that we’ve got.”

The Robins had been in fine fettle themselves before their enforced lay-off, beating Leigh Centurions, Salford Red Devils and Wigan Warriors in successive games to show their top-six potential.

It remains to be seen whether they will be rusty after no game for so long but Smith remains confident in his squad’s ability.

The Australian said: “We’ll find out Saturday. You never know whether the five weeks just freshens you up or not.

“That’s the way we’ve trained – full of energy and full of enthusiasm. We’ve built it up and you can see the excitement of getting close to game-day again.

“We’ve had a couple of false dawns but we’re pretty confident this one is going to happen so there’s an extra spring in the step.

“It doesn’t guarantee for a fantastic performance but certainly the way we’ve been training is encouraging, that’s for sure.”

On the threats of Catalans, he added: “They’re a well-coached outfit with a hell of a lot of experience across the park and a lot of dangers. It’s a tough place to go but we’re not daunted by it.

“They’ve some special and dangerous players. They’re pretty good at getting their noses in front and keeping it that way.

“They get hold of a game and kick well, finish their sets well and make it very, very difficult for you to get back into the game.

“It’s important not to let them get too far out there otherwise you’re going to have to score some special tries in order to break them down or catch them up.

“But I’d also back my team to do some of that sort of stuff if we have to. We’re going to be a good test for one another.”