Craig Sandercock praises Hull KR's defence after their win over Leeds Rhinos
Hull KR coach Craig Sandercock praised his side's defensive heroics after they beat Leeds 16-12.
Last Updated: 17/08/13 8:36am
Tries from Rhys Lovegrove and Jordan Cox enabled the Robins to lead 12-6 at half-time and inspirational captain Michael Dobson extended their advantage to 10 points with two crucial penalties after the break, though they were forced into some desperate defence before making sure of the two points.
Rovers had to see off 28 consecutive tackles on their line as Leeds stepped up their efforts towards the end, with England centre Kallum Watkins scoring the second of his two tries to set up a pulsating finish.
"I'm really pleased for the boys," Sandercock said. "To put in a good performance like that away from home, I couldn't be more proud of them.
"It wasn't pretty but all those young kids who came in tonight defended for their lives.
"I got a crick in my neck watching our line. They way they defended set after set, the young kids can be very proud.
"Our defence was outstanding and to limit their tries to those kicks was very pleasing. The boys showed some character tonight."
Hull KR went into the game without six senior players through injury and Sandercock admitted he was forced to gamble on the fitness of others.
"A couple of those shouldn't have played but they had to," he said.
Lovegrove, who missed last Sunday's Hull derby defeat with a rib injury, provided the highlight of tonight's match with a storming 15-metre run for his try in which he took Leeds full-back Ben Jones-Bishop over the line with him.
"He's a strong boy, the strongest in the gym," Sandercock said. "We really missed him last week."
Leeds were hoping to cement a top-four finish with a fifth straight win but they failed to build on the game's opening try scored by Watkins and coach Brian McDermott had no complaints about the result.
"I didn't think we were great but, at the same time, we were not awful," McDermott said. "I've not too many gripes. I thought Hull KR played better than us and grew in confidence as the game wore on.
"When we do our review, there will be things we could have been better at during those 28 tackles but they gambled on cutting us off and it worked.
"Hull KR haven't been far off in the games they've lost recently and we were expecting them to be good."