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  • Super League: St Helens Boss Paul Wellens Pinpoints 'Most Disappointing' Issue After Hull KR Defeat

Super League: St Helens boss Paul Wellens pinpoints 'most disappointing' issue after Hull KR defeat

St Helens coach Paul Wellens lamented his side’s “defensive fragility” after they were knocked off the top of Betfred Super League following a 40-20 defeat at Hull KR.

Having conceded just 70 points in their first nine fixtures this year, Saints were uncharacteristically disjointed at Craven Park as Hull KR pulled away in the second half after a seesaw opening 40 minutes.

Rovers ran in seven tries in total in a statement victory that saw them join five other teams on 14 points atop a congested top-six, including Saints, who drop below Wigan and Warrington to third.

“The most disappointing aspect of the performance was there was a defensive fragility there which is not usually associated with this group,” Wellens said.

“Whenever you play in big games, if you don’t hold up defensively, you don’t give yourselves a chance and what I didn’t like, towards the back end of game, I felt we stopped finding an effort.

“When you pull on that jersey, you’ve got a responsibility to perform. There are people outside the squad who are desperate for opportunities.

“I’m not going to make knee-jerk reactions off the back of the defeat. I’ll need to watch it back and get a grip on why things happened the way they did but I’m certainly not afraid to make changes.”

Saints were without prolific winger Tommy Makinson, who revealed earlier this week he had contracted chicken pox, although Wellens is hopeful the 32-year-old will be back in training on Monday.

“Generally most people get chicken pox as a kid and don’t get them again,” Wellens said “Tommy mustn’t have gone to all those kids’ parties. He feels absolutely fine, it’s just his body is covered in spots.

“The doctor said it can be contagious and it was imperative he stayed away. We’ve followed protocol but it’s more than likely he’ll train with us on Monday and hopefully back in contention next week.”

Mikey Lewis bagged 16 points for Rovers with a try and six conversions, while Jack Broadbent followed him over the line on debut, drafted in minutes before kick-off due to Oliver Gildart’s knee injury.

James Batchelor and Elliot Minchella also had separate problems but Peta Hiku and Jez Litten built on Rovers’ 16-14 half-time lead before Dean Hadley and Ryan Hall added gloss to the scoreline late on.

“There was a lot of adversity in that game at different parts and I’m really proud of the team,” Rovers coach Willie Peters said after his side followed up last week’s win over Wigan to move up to fourth.

“Jack had to come in but it was a seamless transition with the way he played. We lost James Batchelor with a bit of an eye issue then we had to bring Elliot off with a bit of a groin issue.

“But the only way to beat a team like St Helens is through a team performance. I’m really, really happy.”

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