French and Marshall score hat-tricks as Wigan blasts weakened Hull KR | Super League

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It was, both literally and metaphorically, men versus boys. Make no mistake, there’s been a lot of hard work and effort on Hull KR’s part – but when the chips are so stacked against you on a pitch like this, you’re sure to come away empty-handed.

Wigan was more than good enough to get the job done and strengthen their hold on second place; it should be very clear. But they faced a Rovers side missing 16 first-team regulars. They lost two more, Will Dagger and Lachlan Coote, to injuries midway through the first half and three more in the closing minutes, finishing with just 12 players. The concern of clubs like Hull KR regarding injuries? Things could also get worse before they get better.

As injuries rise across the Super League, clubs face the prospect of a run of three games in around a week over the August bank holiday, in a desperate bid to wrap up the season before the start of the season. World Cup in October. It does all but substantiate the sport’s claims that it is a leader in player welfare. It’s worrying to wonder what kind of line-up many clubs will be able to offer at a potentially decisive time of the year.

Hull KR’s issues here are an early indicator of what lies ahead for the competition. They were well beaten, with four tries from Wigan in the first quarter, but they nearly killed the game as a contest. They’re still firmly in playoff contention, but with Dagger and Coote now ruled out for at least the foreseeable future, their task of making the top six looks even more difficult.

The tone was set after just two minutes when Bevan French crossed for his 22nd try of a remarkable season. Halfway through half he had crossed for his second, along with two other attempts by Wigan to put the game past a young Rovers side. After French’s opener, Cade Cust and Liam Marshall combined straight from a scrum to allow the latter to cross before Marshall turned provider when his final kick was collected by Mike Cooper, who s worked their way over the Hull KR defence.

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French’s second made it 20-0 and while you could tell Wigan calmed down from that point, Hull KR certainly rallied. They shrugged off the loss of Dagger and Coote to score their first try when Ethan Ryan claimed Rowan Milnes’ cross kick, but one of Wigan’s ultra-critical coaches, Matt Peet, reportedly demanded his side show more cruelty after half-time.

They started the second half with a bang when French’s long-range pass found Kai Pearce-Paul, and they didn’t back down from there. Shortly after, Marshall crossed for his second before Harry Smith’s wonderful pass freed up French for his hat-trick. Hull KR’s points difference could still be vital in the battle for sixth place, making the late tries they conceded thanks to a hat-trick from Patrick Mago and Marshall potentially decisive. The outcome of the night, however, was long decided.

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