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Super League: Hull KR v Hull FC preview
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Both Hull KR and Hull FC have hit form at the right time ahead of their first derby clash of the season on Thursday, live on Sky Sports.
The Robins go into the game fresh off a superb 25-12 away triumph over Warrington, their third straight win in Super League having previously claimed just one point from their opening five matches.
They have also received a boost on the eve of the big game with the announcement of the signing of Wayne Ulugia, though Rovers fans will have to wait to see the former North Queensland Cowboy in action for their club.
Still, the addition of the utility back - one who has represented New Zealand at junior level and can play either at full-back, on the wing or in the centres - creates further competition for places in Craig Sandercock's playing squad.
The Australian coach is able to recall Justin Poore for the clash with the Black and Whites, the prop having now completed a three-match ban for dangerous tackle made against Bradford in March.
His return is a timely one, considering Rovers have now lost Adam Walker to an ankle injury that is expected to keep the prop sidelined for some time.
"With Adam out injured alongside his brother Jonny, it's really important to have Justin back," Sandercock told the Hull Daily Mail. "We need him back because we need as many of our front rowers available as possible."
Rovers won the Easter clash last year at the KC Stadium but were beaten in the remaining two derbies, including a 38-20 reverse at Craven Park that means they have lost the last two matches against their city rivals on home turf.
If they can end the run and make it four league wins on the spin they will go above their neighbours in the table and into the play-off positions.
Hull FC coach Lee Radford is getting set for his first derby since taking the top job, and the former forward knows there are more than two Super League points on the line.
"They're obviously intense," he told Sky Sports. "With the geography of both clubs being so close together, and the meaning to both sets of spectators, it obviously adds a bit more motivation coming into the fixture.
"When one half of your family are black and white, then the other half are red and white, you know you're going to cop a bit of flak when you get home, that is for sure."
Radford has seen his team win their last two league outings, though they have sandwiched a golden-point loss to Salford in the fourth round of the Tetley's Challenge Cup.
However, they bounced back from the disappointment of seeing their dreams of reaching Wembley dashed with an impressive 30-6 result at home to Huddersfield in front of the Sky cameras, scoring four tries in a blistering first quarter of the match at the KC Stadium.
Understandably Radford has kept faith with the players that performed so well against the Giants, the only change in the 19-man squad seeing the fit-again Richard Horne return in place of hooker Aaron Heremaia.
Hull KR: Burns, Carlile, Caro, Cockayne, Costigan, Cox, Gardner, Green, Hall, J. Hodgson, Horne, Keating, Larroyer, Lovegrove, Netherton, Poore, Salter, Welham, Weyman.
Hull FC: Bowden, Carvell, Colbon, Ellis, Hadley, Horne, Houghton, Miller, Paea, Paleaaesina, Rankin, Shaul, Talanoa, Thompson, Tuson, Watts, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.
Watch Hull KR take on Hull live on Sky Sports 1 at 8pm on Thursday.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalan Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalan Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalan Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
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