Cunningham: There are no words to describe loss

Saints coach Keiron Cunningham
Saints coach Keiron Cunningham

Head coach Keiron Cunningham looked a crestfallen and forlorn figure as he addressed the media following Saints humiliating 47-18 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round defeat against rejuvenated Hull FC at sun-kissed Langtree Park on Sunday.

Since taking over the reins of his home-town club a couple of years ago, Cunningham has had to swallow the bitter pill of defeat on quite a number of occasions but none will have hurt him more than this latest body blow.

Being a life-long fan himself, he will also be sharing the fans’ frustration at such an early exit from the most prestigious knock out competition in the sport.

Neither could he put his finger on what went so horribly wrong as the 12-times trophy holders melted like an ice cream in Mediterranean-style temperatures, producing an 80 minute performance which fell well below expectations.

Cunningham said: “I haven’t the words to explain what I am feeling at the minute.

“We lost the ruck and didn’t do the fundamentals around it well, something which we have been doing well recently but all credit to Hull who played well on the day.

“It was embarrassing at certain times down the middle and it’s difficult to explain why.

“We trained outstandingly during the week and we have been building some combinations over the last two weeks but today we were really poor defensively.

“We now have to regroup and find something and kick on into the next part of the Super League competition.

“We have a big home game against Salford Red Devils on Friday night and I will be looking for an immediate response from my platers.”

He went on: “Even when we were losing, I always felt we could do something but we lost the energy battle early on and that had a knock on effect.

“We had a foothold at times but one-on-one defence was poor and that is a mental thing which needs to be addressed.

“We will see how we scrub up and get out there and try and right a few wrongs.”