Written by John Davidson
Hull KR coach Tony Smith was left gutted but remaining positive after his side were dramatically eliminated by Castleford from the Challenge Cup in golden point.
The Robins went down 33-32 in extra-time at home through a Gareth O’Brien drop goal.
Hull KR lead 22-6 at half-time, after an impressive first half, and were in front 32-18 with just 10 minutes left in the game.
But the Tigers rallied and scored three tries in nine minutes to force golden point. Then, after four agonising periods of extra-time with no score, O’Brien finally landed a successful kick.
“We’re just disappointed,” a frustrated Smith said after the amazing end to the match.
“We got in the position to win the game but we didn’t. We made progress in a lot of areas. But at the same time we came out with some stuff in this game that we have to learn from.
Castleford score a drop goal.
— Hull Kingston Rovers (@hullkrofficial) April 9, 2021
“Cas are one of the teams everybody has been tipping for all sorts this year. To go toe to toe with them is outstanding.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t go on with it and that we allowed our opponents back in. But absolutely there’s more positives than negatives [to take from the game]
“We were in position to win. But you play Cas and they’re one of the top teams in the comp. You can’t take your foot off the gas and they’ll punish you.”
Hull KR have yet to win a game this season after losing to Catalans in round one, also in golden point, and then going down to St Helens in round two of Super League.
The east Yorkshire side was impressive for most of the Challenge Cup tie against Castleford but showed mental fragility late in the contest and could not close the game out.
But Smith declined to take aim at his players after the fixture.
“I can’t criticize them for their efforts,” he said.
“There were times in the match that we were in control and there were times that we weren’t. Just like for Cas.
“It was very, very close. The effort from both teams was enormous.”