Hull KR humbled as classy Catalans Dragons offer brutal reminder of required levels

Hull KR were delivered a sobering lesson on their travels after being dismantled by impressive Super League leaders Catalans Dragons, who prevailed 36-6. A match that was billed as the Robins' first real opportunity to showcase their credentials, they were outplayed in all areas by last year's Grand Finalists, demonstrating the Robins still have work to do to be considered among Super League's elite.

Defeat in Perpignan is nothing to be ashamed of but the manner of the defeat will sting the Robins and their supporters, with around 1,000 making the trip across the channel. This was an emphatic, brutal reminder of the levels Hull KR must reach if they want to win trophies. Through the middle, they were well and truly bullied. On the edges, Catalans were far too quick and slick. It brought an end to a five-match winning run, with Rovers now no doubt having some doubters to silence after their first crack at one of the competition's big hitters.

Credit to Catalans, they were absolutely superb. Few teams would have been able to handle them in this form. But Rovers need to prevent something like this happening again.

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The main news before the game was the absence of Mikey Lewis, ruled out after suffering a slight glute strain in the captain's run on Tuesday. It meant Ben Reynolds was given his first start in Hull KR colours, with George King and Sam Luckley also recalled after returning from injury and suspension respectively. Sauaso Sue and Leo Tennison also made way.

It was Catalans, without Rovers loanee Jordan Abdull, who struck first. After getting on top of the arm-wrestle, Micky McIlorum would scoot over from a metre out to give the hosts a seventh-minute lead. Morgue tagged on the extras, but Rovers would hit back five minutes later after a slick try. Jez Litten showed deception to surprise the short side, May and Evalds would then combine to free Joe Burgess, who excellently scored despite the best efforts of three defenders.

Reynolds' conversion levelled matters and it appeared we had a contest on our hands. That, however, didn't prove to be the case. The Dragons, from that point on, would completely dominate the contest and have the game won by the break.

They scored some brilliant tries too. Matt Ikavalu reestablished their lead when finishing off a great move crafted by the brilliant Arthur Morgue and Theo Fages. Eight minutes later, Tom Davies, heavily linked with a move to Craven Park next year, acrobatically finished another slick move in which Rovers' left edge was prized open again after Evalds had dropped a high kick.

That was the frustration, that many of the tries were self-inflicted. The next try, courtesy of prop Jordan Dezaria, was soft to concede. The Frenchman powered over Elliot Minchella and Matt Parcell from close range when the pair should have stopped him.

On the next set, Morgue provided more magic with super deception to release Arthur Romano. Fages was in support, and he scored a third try in eight minutes. The game, at that point, was done. Catalans had a 26-6 lead at half-time.

The consolation for Peters and the travelling supporters was that the second half was much better. They actually had more than their fair share of possession and territory, but unfortunately, they couldn't capitalise. Lewis' absence will be cited, but the pack never got a foothold against a dominant Catalans pack.

The Dragons would eventually add to their tally on 70 minutes, Tom Johnstone racing home after the Robins got their numbers wrong on the right edge. They had previously survived with 12 men after Matty Storton was sent to the sin bin for a crusher tackle.

They would eventually put Rovers out of their misery on 76 minutes, Tariq Sims showing great energy to charge down a May kick and chase it down to score after a 50-metre dash.

Catalans : Arthur Morgue, Tom Davies, Arthur Romano, Matt Ikavalu, Tom Johnstone, Cesar Rouge, Theo Fages, Julian Bousquet, Micky McIlorum, Romain Navarrete, Tariq Sims, Mike McMeeken, Ben Garcia. Subs: Jayden Nikorima, Bailey Sironen, Chris Satae, Jordan Dezaria.

Tries: McIlroum (7), Ikavalu (18), Davies (26), Dezaria (31), Fages (34), Johnstone (70), Sims (76)
Goals: Morgue 4/7

Hull KR : Niall Evalds, Joe Burgess, Peta Hiku, Tom Opacic, Ryan Hall, Ben Reynolds, Tyrone May, Jai Whitbread, Jez Litten, George King, Dean Hadley, James Batchelor, Elliot Minchella. Subs: Matt Parcell, Sam Luckley, Matty Storton, Kelepi Tanginoa.

Tries: Burgess (12)
Goals: Reynolds: 1/1