Sheens relieved as Robins win game they could not lose

Tim Sheens admitted Hull KR's 31-12 success over Widnes was a game they had to win if they are to avoid the bottom four this season.

Justin Carney

The Australian highlighted this fixture as a game they could not afford to lose given Widnes started the game two points clear of Rovers in the table. Sheens was pleased with the way his side dealt with that pressure even if they were helped by the four injuries suffered by Widnes that left them with no interchanges for the final half hour.

“It was an important game for us, in real terms it was a must-win game,” Sheens said.

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“We tried to play that down, but it was a game we really had to win. That’s why I played my most experienced players.

“They were two points in front of us on the ladder and for them it was a game they wanted to win.

“We had to win it and we were playing like that too as we were a bit scratchy, pushing things and not quite getting things right.

“We had some good moments on our try line they tested us with (Rhys) Hanbury keeping us busy but defensively we weren’t too bad.

“Everyone wanted to play, we warmed up well and you could sense we wanted it so I was comfortable we could do it.

“Widnes fell apart with their injuries which helped us and I feel for Denis (Betts).”

Former Castleford winger Justin Carney scored two tries to set up the Robins’s win.

Andrew Hefernan also went over to give Rovers a half-time lead as Widnes created little in attack.

But Vikings took advantage of Chris Clarkson’s yellow card early in the second half to level the scores, Ryan Ince and Joe Mellor going over. Danny Tickle crossed to restore the hosts’ lead, before tries from James Greenwood and Carney sealed the win, Danny McGuire adding gloss with a drop-goal.

Widnes coach Denis Betts admits his side were left a mountain to climb after losing four players to injury, including Keanan Brand who broke his leg six minutes into his Super League debut.

But he felt his side should have done better after making a promising start to the game.

“In the first half we didn’t take a couple of opportunities,” Betts said. “But we ran out of steam.

“I feel really bad for Keanan, he makes his debut and breaks his leg, quite badly too. It’s not a nice start for him after only two touches of the ball.

“We had to reshuffle with the injuries so to come out and show some energy like we did was telling. You need to take opportunities when you come here to keep the crowd quiet and get some momentum. The score doesn’t reflect the effort we put in.”

Wigan head coach Shaun Wane revealed that some half-time honesty helped his team come from 19 points behind with less than half an hour to play to defeat the Catalans Dragons.

After the 32-23 success in Perpignan, “I’m very, very proud of that performance in the second half. We gave ourselves a lot to do but we turned up in the second half with some great performances.”