Hull KR win praise for fighting back to beat Wigan
HULL KR coach Craig Sandercock praised his side's defensive qualities for coming from behind to beat Wigan 32-10.
Rovers fell behind 10-0 in the first 10 minutes of their pre-season friendly clash at MS3 Craven Park, but Sandercock's side stood firm to shut the Warriors out for the remaining 70 minutes.
That achievement was made all the more impressive given the number of changes Rovers made when using all 24 players named in their match-day squad.
While Sandercock was pleased with the result and performance, he is not getting carried away with the win over a very young and fairly inexperienced Wigan side.
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"The last 60 minutes was very impressive and we controlled the game," Sandercock said.
"The slow start showed a lot of players were a bit rusty, which was to be expected, but overall I'm reasonably pleased.
"We took out some of our senior players at half-time but they didn't concede a point after going 10-0 down.
"However, Wigan were fielding their second string side so it's nothing to get too excited about."
Whilst the Warriors fielded some unknown players, Sandercock also used the game to introduce academy player Craig Smith into his squad as a reward for his hard work in the youth team.
Leading 28-10, Sandercock gave the youngster his chance and has predicted a bright future for him and the other kids coming through the ranks.
"Craig is part of the future of this great club, along with Sonny Esslemont, Matty Beharrell and players like that," he explained.
"They are only 17 and 18 years old and it was good to see Craig get a run-out. He now knows what first- grade rugby is all about and how quick and fast it is."
Watched by a crowd of 3,096 fans, Rovers played smarter than Wigan and conceded fewer penalties.
One area that was noticeable when it came to referee Richard Silverwood's controlling of the game was the strictness in which the play-the ball was played.
Wigan were penalised a lot more than Rovers, with Sandercock pleased to see his player implement the new interpretation of the rule.
"We were tipped off before the game that referees were going to do that," he said. "It was discussed at the most recent head coaches meeting and the referee mentioned it again before the game.
"We made it quite clear to our players that referees are going to clamp down on the play-the-ball.
"So, they made sure they played the ball with their foot."