Catalans Dragons inflicted Hull KR’s fourth successive defeat to keep the pressure on the Super League leaders, St Helens, and move within two points of the champions.
The Robins’s form has collapsed since their coach, Tony Smith, announced he would be leaving at the end of the season. At that stage they were in the top six and in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup but they failed to reach next week’s final in London after slipping to defeat against Huddersfield. Now their league form is beginning to fall apart, too.
Victory for Rovers would have moved them into the playoffs despite their poor recent form but, despite dominating the opening half-hour, they could forge only an eight-point lead courtesy of Ben Crooks’s early try and two goals from the boot of Lachlan Coote. A litany of possession for the hosts failed to yield any further points and Catalans made them pay in ruthless fashion.
They halved the deficit by the interval when a wonderful offload from Tyrone May led to an acrobatic finish from Tom Davies, before an interception from Mathieu Laguerre, coupled with a touchline conversion from Arthur Mourgue, nudged the Dragons ahead for the first time.
Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for 'The Guardian'.
If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.
In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
Turn on sport notifications.
Davies’s teammate then followed suit with another incredible finish. With seemingly no space ahead of him, Fouad Yaha leaped over a scrambling Coote to place the ball down in the corner while his body was almost vertical in mid-air. It left Mourgue with another tough conversion, but he duly obliged to make it 16-8 in favour of Catalans.
Mourgue added another penalty as the hosts began to chance their arm, making it 18 unanswered points. He then removed any doubt over the result with seven minutes remaining after making it four from four with the boot, to solidify Catalans’ position in second and ensure a fifth victory in six games.