HULL KR head coach Tim Sheens has refuted suggestions his squad deliberately feigned injury against Widnes Vikings and says cramp and dehydration are major issues for players during the current heatwave.
Widnes chief Francis Cummins claimed Rovers second-row Danny Tickle looked like a “sniper had got him” after actually running towards referee Tom Grant and then falling to the ground during Saturday’s game.
Grant waved play on as Widnes kicked a penalty to touch and Tickle ran back into the defensive line as they held on for a 26-24 win.
But Sheens said: “It’s an interesting one. It’s been done to us all year. There’s issues.
“But if you go out there into the middle of that field, there are guys genuinely cramping.
“(Justin) Carney was down. I got abuse from the crowd but he got up and played on but he could barely walk back into position so I don’t think he was pretending was he?
I got abuse from the crowd but he got up and played on but he could barely walk back into position so I don’t think he was pretending was he?Tim Sheens
“Nick Scruton has ice all over his knee, Carney got chaired off (injured). Did I coach to do that do you think? And they (Widnes) had a few down with cramp as well. It was just a damn hot day. And if you walk out of the shade see what you think. The temperature out there was unbelievable.”
Sheens added: “The last couple of weeks, with this heat, dehydration and cramping is not a feigned injury. I back our fitness.
“I’ll take a kick up the bum for one bloke (Tickle) maybe who dropped down in front of the goalposts there who remains nameless and he (referee) just played on. So he soon got up didn’t he?
“But the others struggled big time. Most of them have lost three or four kilos. It’s a lot of weight.
“It happens in Australia regularly and I mean savage cramp - not being able to straighten your leg. But I don’t coach it (feigning injury) and I don’t condone it.”