Opposition Profile: Hull KR
Picture by Paul Currie/SWpix.com - 18/09/2020 - Rugby League - Coral Challenge Cup Quarter Final - Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR - Emerald Totally Wicked Stadium, Langtree Park, St Helens, England - Leeds Rhinos' Tom Holroydm is tackled by Hull Kingston Rovers' Will Dagger and Matty Gee
It’s been under a week since Leeds beat Hull KR to move into the Coral Challenge Cup semi-finals, but the two sides meet again this Thursday afternoon at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the Betfred Super League, kick-off 2.45pm.
Let’s take a closer look at Tony Smith’s side here:
Hull KR had put in some spirited performances since Super League restarted. A 34-18 win over Wigan Warriors has been a highlight for Tony Smith’s side, who sat bottom of the Super League table before lockdown, but they also showed willingness to throw the ball around in their first match back against Warrington in August.
The golden point defeat to St Helens is another result that Smith will have been happy with, especially when he looks at the performances of the young talent that has come through, such as Will Dagger, Mikey Lewis and Jez Litten, that have pushed their way into the match day squad.
There are a number of former Rhinos players in the KR squad, who could be set to face their old club. Weller Hauraki, Matt Parcell, Robbie Mulhern and Nate Peteru were all included in last week’s squad, whilst Elliot Minchella and Mitch Garbutt could feature on Thursday night. Mulhern and Minchella both started their careers at the Rhinos, coming through the club’s Academy and into the first team.
Last Time Outi Super League
Golden Point extra time was required when Tony Smith’s side took on the Champions St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium two weeks ago. Dean Hadley, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Ethan Ryan’s tries matched Saints across the eighty minutes but it was Will Dagger’s goal kicking that proved pivotal; the full back slotting a 79th minute penalty to send the game into extra time. St Helens half back Theo Fages was the difference though, as the France international kicked the vital drop goal to keep Kristian Woolf’s side top of the table.
Position: Half Back
Total Super League Goals: 117
Former Clubs: St Helens, Leigh Centurions, Hull FC, Castleford Tigers, Huddersfield Giants.
Bio: One of Hull KR’s stand out players last week, Ellis proved a key cog when it came to Rovers attack, creating and scoring two tries on his own. His experience will be valuable for the likes of Mikey Lewis and Joe Keyes before Ellis moves to join Championship outfit Leigh Centurions in 2021.
Total Super League Tries: 28
Made 80 appearances for the Rhinos, scoring 43 tries, before joining Rovers in 2019.
One of six former Leeds players among Tony Smith’s side.
Bio: After impressing during a loan spell in 2019, Hull KR made the transfer of Matt Parcell permanent in October to be a part of a young spine. An ankle injury in February ruled him out for a lengthy period but the lockdown proved beneficial, meaning the hooker was ready to go for when Super League returned in August. He has played in al four games and will face his former side for a second consecutive week.
As this fixture is classed as a Hull KR home match, previous fixtures at Craven Park have been one-sided. During Super League, Leeds have claimed nine wins from 13 matches on the road, including their largest result in 2013. A double from Kallum Watkins, who went on to be the club’s top tryscorer that season, was a stand out performance on that day, whilst Ian Kirke, Ryan Hall and Joel Moon were among the other six try scorers as the Rhinos walked away 44-10 victors.
A year earlier, only one point separated the Super League Champions from the Robins. The Rhinos came back from 18-6 down at the break (Graeme Horne, Josh Hodgson, Michael Dobson scoring for Rovers and Danny McGuire for Leeds) to win the match 25-24, thanks to a last minute Sinfield drop goal. Carl Ablett, Ryan Hall and a second try for McGuire got Leeds back in the clash in the second period before Sinfield’s successful one pointer.
For Rovers, 2019’s 45-26 blitzing of Leeds was the first time that Hull KR had won against the Rhinos on home soil since 2011. Despite four tries for Leeds Konrad Hurrell, Rovers ended a three match losing run thanks to tries from Tommy Lee, Danny McGuire, Will Oakes, Mitch Garbutt, Junior Vaivai, Josh Drinkwater and Lee Crooks, plus eight goals from Craig Hall and a one pointer from former Rhino McGuire.
Last Ten Super League Meetings vs Leeds
Record against the Rhinos
In history, Leeds have won 138 out of 205 matches, 52 of which have come away against Hull KR. In Super League alone, the record between the two sides is quite short, with only 13 games being played due to the Robins entering the league in 2007 and spending a year in the Championship in 2017.
Again though, Leeds have prevailed as the more in-form side, winning nine of those 13 matches to Rovers’ four. That includes an unbeaten record from April 2007 to the end of 2009 when the Rhinos took away six wins, including three at Craven Park (2007: 18-10, 2008: 36-22, 2009: 19-10)
The Robins did win back to back home clashes against Leeds in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, Justin Morgan’s side completed home and away wins over Leeds for the first time (17-10 at Headingley and 25-6 at Craven Park) before going onto repeat the feat on home soil a year later; Michael Vella, Kris Welham, Matt Cook, Scott Murrell, Liam Colbon, Sam Latus, Ben Galea scoring tries to move Rovers off the bottom of the table.
Head to Head
Last Game Against the Rhinos
Leeds blew the Robins away 52-10 at Emerald Headingley in round three of the new season. Youngsters Cameron Smith and Harry Newman scored two tries apiece to help the Rhinos to their first win of the new season. Ash Handley’s length of the field effort was the try of the night while Jack Walker, Konrad Hurrell, James Donaldson and Richie Myler all opened their try-scoring accounts for 2020. Jordan Abdull and Greg Minikin’s tries proved only consolations as Rovers sat bottom of the Super League table.