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Tony Smith: Hull KR coach wants 'more respect' for players after delayed kick-off


Hull KR boss Tony Smith
Former England head coach Tony Smith was appointed as Hull KR head coach in June 2019

Hull KR coach Tony Smith says players must be treated with “more respect” after his side’s game with Huddersfield Giants was delayed by four positive Covid-19 tests in the opposition camp.

Giants won 32-22 in a game put back by 90 minutes after two of their injured players and two non-playing staff not in touch with the team tested positive.

Smith told BBC Radio Humberside: “We’ve bitten our lips and done what we can.

“But I’d like to see a little bit more respect paid back to the players.”

None of the four positive tests came from players who featured in the Giants’ win against Castleford on 24 September. One further unnamed player is awaiting the result of a retest and has been instructed to self-isolate until the results are received.

A Super League statement on Wednesday afternoon, which confirmed the delay to kick-off, said:external-link “The test results were received this (Wednesday) morning, and required conversations with Public Health England and a thorough investigation of the situation to ensure the safety of all involved, leading to the decision to put back the kick-off from 17:30 BST as originally scheduled.”

Smith added: “I feel for my guys. Everybody has got to roll their sleeves up. We ask our players to take pay cuts, not go and socialise like normal people and make all sorts of sacrifices.

“Then we threaten to fine them if they celebrate too much and we delay games and throw them out of their routines.

“To find out the (Huddersfield) bus wasn’t going to be leaving for another couple of hours today was inconsiderate in some respects.”

Giants interim boss Luke Robinson, who oversaw a third consecutive victory, told BBC Radio Leeds: “It’s very fortunate for me that the lads caught in the Covid situation this morning were the lads in the non-squad.

“We didn’t have an 18th or 19th man so if anyone went down in the warm-up, we would have had to play with 15 or 16 men, whatever that may be.

“I was looking on worried in the warm-up hoping nobody went down. It’s the world we live in at the minute.

“The club have been great, they really stick to the letter of the law regarding what the government guidelines and Rugby Football League have been saying, but unfortunately it’s one of those things, at some point somebody is going to get it.

“Whether it comes from within rugby league or outside, it’s one of those things. I thought we handled it really well.”

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