Super League: Catalans Dragons v Hull KR

Ryan Hall scored a hat-trick on his Hull KR debut against Catalans in the opening round of the 2021 Super League season
Ryan Hall scored a hat-trick on his Hull KR debut against Catalans in the opening round of the 2021 Super League season
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus Date: Thursday, 30 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST Coverage: Updates on BBC local radio and live scores on the BBC Sport website

Hull KR boss Tony Smith says he may risk playing winger Ryan Hall in Thursday’s Super League play-off semi-final against Catalans Dragons.

33-year-old Hall had torn his bicep in the penultimate game of the season versus Castleford earlier in September.

However the former Leeds and England international has been named in KR’s 21-man squad for the trip to Perpignan.

“They tell me he can’t do any more damage,” Smith said in his pre-match interview on Tuesday.

“It’s just whether he can have full function. If he can, we may risk it.”

Jimmy Keinhorst has filled in for Hall in their past two games and scored in their 19-0 demolition of Warrington in their elimination play-off.

“It would be great if he [Hall] plays but we’ll be OK if he’s not, as we found out last week,” Smith added.

‘We’ve earned the right to be at home’

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Catalans have been more affected than most Super League sides and battled to complete the 2020 season.

Last term and into the early parts of this season, the French side were forced to play the majority of their games in England due to the impact of the pandemic.

However, a stunning season saw them win the League Leaders’ Shield with victory over St Helens at the Magic Weekend and now, like KR, Catalans are only 80 minutes away from a maiden Grand Final.

Having lost to eventual champions Saints in 2020, the Dragons have home advantage this time around and boss Steve McNamara knows will be a huge confidence boost to his side.

“It’s reward for everybody involved with the club. We’ve earned the right to be at home in this game,” he said.

“When we got drawn at home in the Challenge Cup and had to play away, we didn’t particularly agree with it but we understood the circumstances.

“Now, to get a game of this magnitude is great. It will be a special occasion, there’s going to be a tremendous atmosphere.”

Team news

Catalans full-back Sam Tomkins is named in the hosts’ 21-man squad despite carrying a knee injury.

Tomkins, who has been nominated for the 2021 Steve Prescott Man of Steel, was included in this season’s Super League Dream Team and was voted player of the year by the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association, picked up the injury against Wigan earlier in September.

Hall is the only addition to the squad for Hull KR as he takes the place of half-back Rowan Milnes, who misses out on the trip to France due to a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, the visitors will assess the fitness of forwards Albert Vete, George Lawler and Korbin Sims ahead of Thursday’s encounter.

Catalans (from): Mourgue, Davies, Langi, Whare, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Dudson, McIlorum, Bousquet, Whitley, McMeeken, Garcia, Jullien, Goudemand, Laguerre, J Tomkins, Chan, Kasiano, S Tomkins, Dezaria.

Hull KR (from): Crooks, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Abdull, Vete, Sims, Takairangi, Linnett, Litten, Lawler, King, Storton, Dagger, Lewis, Keyes, Maher, Johnson, Mustapha, Tate, Whur, Keinhorst.

Referee: J. Child.


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