Super League round-up

Ben Barba
Ben Barba

St Helens recorded their eighth straight win over struggling Hull KR to go six points clear at the top of the Betfred Super League.

St Helens 26-4 Hull KR

St Helens recorded their eighth straight win over struggling Hull KR to go six points clear at the top of the Betfred Super League.

Justin Holbrook's side, who have already secured their place in the top eight and are also in the last four of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, opened the scoring after just 90 seconds and were never in trouble as they eased to a 26-4 success.

Super League's top try-scorer Ben Barba ran in his 18th and 19th of the season for Saints while their long-serving hooker James Roby clocked up a career century of tries after 14 years with the club.

It was a tough night for Rovers, who remain second from bottom, though they did at least rally after a horror start which saw them trail 12-0 after only eight minutes.

The Robins' kick-off went out on the full and from the penalty, Saints rolled forward and moved the ball right for centre Ryan Morgan to score a try which Danny Richardson converted.

Roby helped himself to a simple try from dummy half in the eighth minute after Kyle Amor was tackled inches short. Richardson, who has registered points in his last 19 games, again kicked the goal.

The league leaders had two tries disallowed before they finally got over for a third 11 minutes before half-time. Theo Fages and Zeb Taia combined brilliantly to get Barba over and Richardson again goaled.

As the half-time hooter sounded, Barba set off on a mazy 70-metre run and kicked ahead but Tommy Makinson's valiant full-length dive was in vain as the ball agonisingly rolled dead.

The half-time team-talk of Robins coach Tim Sheens clearly had an effect as they registered their first points of the game within two minutes of the restart. Winger Junior Vaivai followed up his own kick and touched down in the corner but Ryan Shaw was unable to kick the goal.

But no sooner were KR's hopes of a genuine fightback raised than they were dashed as a thrilling crossfield broken-play attack by Saints ended with Richardson kicking through for Mark Percival to ground the ball in the 47th minute. There was no goal from Richardson this time.

Rovers enjoyed more possession as the half went on but they were unable to crack the Saints defence despite having a try disallowed in the closing stages.

With the game nearly up, Barba went almost the length of the field as he outsprinted the demoralised chasing cover to score his second of the night.

Warrington Wolves 30-34 Castleford Tigers

A debut try from Quentin Laulu Togaga'e helped Castleford edge a thrilling Super League encounter 34-30 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium to move level on points with Warrington in third spot.

The sides were locked at 20-20 after a breathless opening 40 minutes but second-half tries by Laulu Togaga'e and Oliver Holmes helped the Tigers edge to victory.

Full-back Calum Turner claimed a personal tally of 16 points as he scored a try and six goals, with Castleford's other tries coming from Mike McMeeken and Jy Hitchcox and Adam Milner kicked a late penalty,

Josh Charnley claimed two tries for the Wolves in defeat, with others coming from Tyrone Roberts, Stefan Ratchford, Daryl Clark and Sitaleki Akauola. Harvey Livett kicked two goals and Bryson Goodwin one.

Warrington were unchanged as coach Steve Price named the same 17 that progressed through to the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with a 23-0 victory over Wigan.

Castleford gave debuts to Laulu Togaga'e after his signing from Halifax, and prop forward Mitch Clark. They also included Calum Turner and Will Maher in making four changes to the team that defeated Hull KR 42-14, with Greg Eden, Liam Watts, Jamie Ellis and Paul McShane dropping out of the side.

The first half saw seven tries and end-to-end entertainment - a stark contrast to the game between the two sides at the Jungle in April when the Wolves triumphed 18-6 in quagmire conditions.

Warrington saw their line breached twice in the opening seven minutes as the Tigers made a blistering start.

Firstly, McMeeken followed up his own grubber kick on the sixth tackle to touch down, and then in the next Milner's midfield break set up the position from which Jake Trueman's kick hit the crossbar and bounced back into the hands of Turner for a fortutious try.

Turner was on target with both conversions to give Castleford an early 12-0 advantage.

But the Wolves roared back in stunning fashion with four tries of their own as Roberts, Ratchford, Clark and Akauola all touched down in a devastating spell for the home side, with Livett adding two conversions to give Warrington a 20-12 lead.

Castleford finished the half the stronger and Hitchcox touched down for his side's third try which Turner again converted, and then the Tigers full-back kicked a penalty to bring the scores level.

The action continued to ebb and flow in the second half and the Tigers were reduced to 12 men seven minutes after the restart when Milner was given 10 minutes in the sin bin for a late hit on Roberts.

Warrington made their extra man count when Charnley touched down in the corner to edge the home side four points in front.

But the Tigers would not lie down and hit the front again on the hour mark with Laulu Togaga'e's debut try. Turner's fifth goal made it 26-24 to the visitors and when Holmes went over five minutes later, the try again converted by Turner, Castleford looked to have sealed the win.

Charnley's second try of the night set up a thrilling finale but Castleford held on for the win, helped by a late Milner penalty.

Leeds Rhinos 18-25 Huddersfield Giants

Huddersfield bounced back from their Challenge Cup exit to present Simon Woolford with his first win as head coach at the expense of reigning champions Leeds.

In contrast to their lethargic display against Catalans Dragons, the Giants were full of energy and invention from the start at Headingley and were good value for their 25-18 victory that further eases their relegation fears.

Below-par Leeds were badly disrupted by injury as they crashed to a fourth successive Betfred Super League defeat which leaves them further adrift of the top four.

Among the Huddersfield heroes was 20-year-old half-back Oliver Russell, picked to make only his second Super League appearance as a replacement for the suspended Danny Brough, who did not look out of place on the big stage.

The Rhinos were boosted by the return of centre Liam Sutcliffe and forwards Mitch Garbutt and Brett Delaney but they were on the back foot from the moment Huddersfield hooker Kruise Leeming went over for the game's first try after 10 minutes.

It came after quick reactions from second rower Alex Mellor as he regathered the ball from a probing kick and Russell kicked the first of his four goals.

Leeds quickly got over the shock, however, and took the lead with two contrasting tries in a five-minute spell.

First hooker Matt Parcell burrowed his way from dummy half close to the line before a break from inside his own half by acting captain Stevie Ward created the position for scrum-half Richie Myler to collect Sutcliffe's kick and touch down.

Both tries were converted by Jordan Lilley but the Giants drew level on the half-hour when Russell's neat pass got second rower Aaron Murphy over and they regained the lead when a break from substitute Daniel Smith set up the position for the impressive Mellor to weave his way to the line.

Russell added both goals to make it 18-12 but the game was held up for 10 minutes for Ward and team-mate Mikolaj Oledzki to have treatment following a clash of heads, with the former taken off for a concussion assessment and the latter carried from the field on a stretcher.

Ward was fit enough to resume at the start of the second half to watch his side draw level for the second time, Cameron Smith getting one over on his older brother in the Huddersfield team by touching down after full-back Jordan Rankin had spilled Myler's high ball.

The seesaw nature of the contest continued when replacement hooker Adam O'Brien dummied his way over from acting half-back for the Giants' fourth try and the visitors ought to have extended their lead when centre Lee Gaskell found himself in space but opted to kick despite having two men in support.

Leeds then lost Myler with concussion and Huddersfield visibly grew in confidence.

Russell was wide with a 40-metre penalty that would have put his side two scores in front and loose forward Ryan Hinchcliffe was held up over the line as the Rhinos fought desperately to keep themselves in the game.

But their hopes were finally dashed three minutes from the end when the Giants worked their way into position for Russell to put over a drop goal.

By then both teams were down to 12 men after Leeds' former Huddersfield second rower Brett Ferres and the Giants' England winger Jermaine McGillvary were sin-binned for fighting.

Hull FC 45-14 Salford Red Devils

Bureta Faraimo helped himself to a hat-trick as Hull inflicted a sixth straight defeat on Salford with a resounding 45-14 victory at the KCOM Stadium.

The Black and Whites remained without a host of key men but they won with plenty to spare against a Red Devils outfit seemingly destined for the Qualifiers.

Hull had the points in the bag inside the opening 20 minutes thanks to Faraimo's two tries and one apiece for Jack Downs and Jack Logan.

Hakim Miloudi and Jamie Shaul touched down either side of Jake Connor's cheeky drop goal to make it 37-0 at half-time.

Faraimo completed his treble but Hull eased off to allow Salford to score consolation tries through Greg Johnson, Derrell Olpherts and George Griffin, although it was Connor who had the last word with his eighth goal from as many attempts.

Captain Danny Houghton, half-back Albert Kelly and second-rowers Dean Hadley and Sika Manu joined Hull's lengthy injury list following the narrow Challenge Cup defeat at St Helens but Lee Radford got another strong performance from his depleted team.

The writing was on the wall for Salford early on as Faraimo powered his way over out wide after smart play by Connor and then intercepted Jack Littlejohn's lofted pass to sprint 90 metres.

It already appeared to be a case of damage limitation for the out-of-form Red Devils and they were unable to stem the tide.

Young half-back Liam Harris laid on Downs' try with a cross-field kick and it was his break that sparked a scintillating move that was finished by Logan.

Prop Ben Nakubuwai was held up over the line by a superb tackle by Shaul as Salford enjoyed a spell of possession on Hull's line.

But the Red Devils were as predictable in attack as they were soft in defence, with full-back Littlejohn underling his side's struggles with a second intercept pass that gave Miloudi a clear run from halfway.

Connor rubbed salt into Salford's wounds with a drop goal two minutes before the break and there was still time for Shaul to go over under the posts after Faraimo broke down the right and kicked back inside.

The only blot on a near-perfect half for Hull was the sight of Joe Westerman being helped from the field with a leg injury.

Salford's defence held firm at the start of the second half but it eventually cracked as Faraimo wriggled free of Johnson to score his third try.

Hull took their foot off the gas with the game long since won and had the chance to work on their goal-line defence when Faraimo was sin-binned for taking out Mark Flanagan with a high tackle following a break by Robert Lui.

Salford eventually crossed in the 58th minute as Johnson took Jake Shorrocks' pass to dive over and they were in again when Lui and Littlejohn worked Olpherts over in the other corner.

Griffin crashed over from close range but Connor's penalty rounded off a miserable night for the Red Devils.

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