‘Becoming an issue’ - What Paul Wellens said about Hull KR v St Helens in aftermath of defeat

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The Saints boss seems to be finding life tough at the top in his first head coaching role.

Title-holders St Helens have the full weight of frustration resting on their shoulders after suffering a fourth Super League setback in eight matches on Friday night, toppling to a 26-14 defeat at Hull KR.

Paul Wellens seems to be finding life tough at the top in his first head coaching role and he no doubt finds it hard to swallow that Saints haven’t remotely been at their best on returning from Australia after winning the World Club Challenge in February.

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Neither have a spate of injuries helped their cause and going into the Humberside clash without suspended Morgan Knowles, injury-hit Alex Walmsley, Agnatius Passi,  Sione Mata’utia and Curtis Sironen and the withdrawal of skipper and influential hooker James Roby late in the opening half wasn’t the ideal scenario to find themselves in against an on-fire Robins, whose form so far this year has been of a high calibre.

Matty Lees worked overtime in a bid to stem the tide with some bone-crunch tackling  but eventually paid the penalty for his enthusiasm by being sent to the sin-bin just before the interval.

Saints had their moments early on, scoring first and were well worthy of parity at the break, but had to play second fiddle in the final 40 minutes amid growing pressure, leaving honest coach Wellens saying that on the balance of play the better team won on the night.

He said: "Rovers had the better of the field position and won the ruck speed, which is becoming a bit of an issue for us.

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“I’ve no complaints with the result and I am proud of our guys’ efforts, the way they worked hard for each other for large parts of the game which was pleasing but ultimately we came up short in a few areas and it cost us.

“When you are coming up against a team that is on a bit of a roll and whose confidence is high, you give yourselves a lot to do. "

He added: "We contributed to our own downfall and needed to show more patience.

"What we had tonight was too many concentration errors, losing the ball in contact or from a straight drop in a carry and that is an area we need to tidy up on. I said to the players, If we are a little bit more disciplined and hold the ball for longer periods.”

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