Super League: St Helens beat Hull KR to go clear at the top
Last Updated: 07/03/14 10:17pm
Adam Swift: two tries for Saints
St Helens beat Hull KR 38-18 to go a point clear at the top of the First Utility Super League after their fourth straight win.
Rovers - still without a win this season - held Saints 12-12 at the break but conceded five tries after the interval, with Adam Swift turning in a man-of-the-match display.
Swift led the way with two tries for the hosts and also created another for captain Jon Wilkin.
Saints, who opened the campaign with impressive wins over Warrington, Hull and Salford, handed giant Samoan Mose Masoe his debut off the bench.
The 24-year-old former Penrith Panthers prop, who had been sidelined following ankle surgery after being injured during the World Cup, played 30 minutes in two spells after his long lay-off.
Rovers would have grabbed an early lead had Ben Cockayne been able to take a pass from Greg Eden after a mistake by Alex Walmsley, which earned an angry rebuke from Luke Walsh.
But then Walsh spilled the ball, only for Rovers full-back Eden to throw a wild pass from the scrum which was snapped up by Swift to race over after six minutes.
Walsh tagged on the conversion and his well-judged high kick to the corner almost brought another score for Tommy Makinson, who just failed to touch down despite an acrobatic dive.
Rovers were under the cosh and they conceded a second try after Swift sent Jonny Lomax away and the full-back dummied Eden to make it 12-0 with Walsh booting the touchline conversion.
Wheeler could have extended Saints' lead but failed to take Lance Hohaia's pass after Rovers had been ripped apart down their right flank.
Sandercock's men hit back, though, with Poore and Eden going close before Hohaia had a try correctly disallowed by referee Tim Roby.
Then it was Rovers' turn to be disappointed when Liam Salter's effort was ruled out after a smart tap-back by Craig Hall from Kris Keating's kick.
Referee Roby waited almost half an hour before awarding the first penalty and, although Rovers failed to find touch, they did cross for their opening try from Kevin Larroyer following smart play by James Green.
Burns added a difficult conversion with Masoe earning the biggest cheer of the night making his eagerly awaited bow nine minutes before the break.
Action man Josh Hodgson tore down the middle and his industry would have brought a reward if Hall had taken his pass.
But Rovers deservedly drew level 12-12 at the break with Jordan Turner moving out of the Saints line too fast for Cockayne to send Eden over for a converted try with an inside pass.
Saints regained the lead eight minutes after the restart with Alex Walmsley crashing over from short range to make it 18-12.
Masoe, clearly showing signs of fatigue after his lay-off, was substituted before Swift bagged his second try created by Wilkin and Lomax.
Walsh set up two tries in three minutes for Sol Soliola and Makinson with teasing kicks to stretch the lead to 32-12.
Wheeler blew another chance with his second handling error before Masoe returned for his second spell 12 minutes from time - with Swift jumping high to put Wilkin over from another Walsh kick.
The impressive Hodgson caught Saints napping to dart over from a quickly taken tap penalty to make the scoreline more respectable.
Rovers finished with 12 men with Burns sin-binned for a blatant obstruction on Wilkin before Paul Wellens had a try disallowed.