St Helens 48 Hull KR 16: Rovers’ bright start is undone by Saints

St Helens'' Adam Swift scored four tries against Hull KR.
St Helens'' Adam Swift scored four tries against Hull KR.
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Winger Adam Swift scored four tries as St Helens came from behind to beat Hull KR 48-16 to ease the pressure on coach Kieron Cunningham.

Saints were heading for a fifth straight defeat when Hull KR raced into a 12-0 lead after 21 minutes but Swift brought them back into the game with two tries in six minutes late in the first half and doubled his tally as they went on to cruise home.

Saints’ lack of confidence was obvious from the start and in stark contrast to the buoyancy of the visitors, who were handed the early freedom of Langtree Park and revelled in it largely through the prompting of scrum-half Albert Kelly.

Hooker Shaun Lunt took the final pass of birthday boy James Greenwood to finish off a bewildering handling move by scoring a fifth-minute try and delightful pass out of the tackle by the ever-dangerous Kelly got loose forward Chris Clarkson over for a second on 16 minutes.

St Helens eventually found some rhythm to their play in the final 10 minutes of the half and hauled themselves back into contention through Swift.

Full-back Jonny Lomax created an overlap for the first and centre Mark Percival put his wingman over at the corner for his second two minutes before the break.

Percival was unable to convert either try but Saints were on a roll and Swift went 80 metres to complete his hat-trick five minutes into the second half.

Right winger Shannon McDonnell supported a break by second rower Dominique Peyroux to score a fourth try on 48 minutes but Swift added his fourth four minutes later after collecting Lomax’s cut-out pass.

Rovers simply could not get their hands on the ball at that stage but Kelly showed his danger when they finally got to challenge the home defence.

His break got Lunt charging for the line and, although he was denied by Percival’s magnificent last-ditch tackle, Hull KR exposed a gap out wide for winger Thomas Minns to go over.

But Percival crossed for a sixth try, courtesy of an offload from Joe Greenwood, who had the last laugh on his brother in the visitors’ line-up. Second rower Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Peyroux and prop Alex Walmsley all went through some tired defence to add further tries.

St Helens: Lomax, McDonnell, Fleming, Percival, Swift, Turner, Wilkin, Walmsley, Roby, Tasi, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Peyroux, Knowles. Substitutes: Amor, Richards, Thompson, Greenwood.

Hull KR: Minns, Wardill, Horne, Thornley, Dixon, Blair, Kelly, Tilse, Lunt, Allgood, Greenwood, Donaldson, Clarkson. Substitutes: Walker, Larroyer, Green, Lawler.

Referee: J Smith (RFL).