St Helens put in a strong defensive performance to beat Hull KR 25-0 at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Saints took the lead after just three minutes, as Regan Grace took in a cutout pass, and just kept himself in the field of play and got over. Tommy Makinson scored the conversion for a six-point lead.
The champions got their second try after just seven minutes, as Theo Fages attacked the line, and offloaded to Jack Welsby, who went through to score. Makinson was off-target with the conversion attempt.
Makinson put Saints further ahead six minutes into the second half, slotting a penalty after the Robins were caught offside.
10 minutes later, Fages added a drop-goal to put Saints three scores ahead.
Hull KR’s defence was starting to retire, and George Lawler holding on in the tackle was one infringement too many for Robert Hicks, who put him into the sin bin.
Saints took advantage almost straightaway, as Aaron Smith took in an offload from Alex Walmsley and got the ball down. Makinson added the conversion to take Saints’ lead up to 19 points.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Saints got another as Welsby’s cutout pass found Regan Grace, who went over for his second try. Makinson converted.
The Challenge Cup comes into focus for both sides next week. Saints face Leeds Rhinos in arguably the tie of the round, while Hull KR face Castleford Tigers in their first game at Craven Park for over a year.
Hull KR: Adam Quinlan, Ben Crooks, Greg Minikin, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Mikey Lewis, Jordan Abdull, George King, Jez Litten, Korbin Sims, Kane Linnett, Dean Hadley, George Lawler.
Subs: Matt Parcell, Elliot Minchella, Matty Storton, Muizz Mustapha.
Head Coach: Tony Smith.
St Helens: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Josh Simm, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joel Thompson, James Bentley, Sione Mata’utia.
Subs: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Aaron Smith, Joe Batchelor.
Head Coach: Kristian Woolf.