Latus takes Rovers past Cas for last play-off place

Hull KR 26 Castleford 24

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The Independent Online

A second try from Sam Latus nine minutes from time gave Hull KR the last Super League play-off place. The Robins will have an away semi-final against Leeds or the Catalan Dragons. A Cas campaign that promised so much is over, as is Terry Matterson's six-year stay as coach.

With 10 regulars missing there was no faulting the Tigers' courage, but Latus, a 21-year-old winger who has forced his way into Rovers' team, ended 2011 for them. "It was a wonderful performance that deserved a win," said Matterson.

"This club has got soul and you can't manufacture that," said Rovers' coach, Justin Morgan, who is also leaving after a six-year tenure. "But our execution needs to be better."

The first half was largely about the Rovers scrum-half, Michael Dobson. It was his uncharacteristic error, fumbling when forced to reach for a difficult pass, that conceded the possession from which Adam Milner surged upfield to find Danny Orr in support for the game's first try. Dobson went a long way towards making up for that when he backed up Kris Welham and Craig Hall for the equaliser. His tactical kicking skills were soon to the fore, pinning back Cas with a 40/20 and sending Michael Vella over for only his second try of the year. Dobson's second conversion gave Rovers a six-point lead, although it took a fine tackle from Shaun Briscoe to deny Stuart Jones an equaliser.

The Tigers then did draw level, Rangi Chase producing a gem of a pass to send Richard Owen in. The Robins regained the lead through Dobson's penalty after Nick Fozzard went high and then, from a scrum in the last minute of the half, Hall got the ball to Latus for the winger to scramble over.

The second half started with long-range raids from Daryl Clarke and Hall. Dobson's high tackle on Owen then conceded a penalty, from which Owen slipped the ball out of a tackle for Steve Snitch to score.

Rovers regained the lead when Jake Webster scored from Blake Green's low kick. Cas came back again when Joe Arundel intercepted Dobson's pass. On the next play Chase got the pass to Jordan Thompson for the try that put them two points ahead. But then Clint Newton kept the ball alive, Briscoe came into the line and Latus finished.

Hull KR Briscoe; Latus, Welham, Webster, Hall; Green, Dobson; Vella, Hodgson, Taylor, Newton, Galea, Watts. Substitutes used Fisher, Murrell, Lovegrove, Cox.

Castleford Owen; Arundel, Widders, Isa, Thompson; Chase, Orr; Fozzard, Milner, Massey, Jones, Holmes, Hudson. Substitute used Snitch, Davies, Clark, Parker.

Referee R Silverwood (Mirfield)

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