Super League leaders Saints suffered a 40-10 demolition as Chris Chester enjoyed a winning start to his reign as Hull KR’s caretaker coach.
It was the perfect end to a turbulent week at the club, with the sacking of coach Craig Sandercock and players Wayne Ulugia and Jonny Walker.
But Chester managed to lift the club’s fortunes as hat-tricks from Omari Caro and Craig Hall and further tries from Graeme Horne and Greg Eden secured a well-deserved win over Nathan Brown’s side, whose only replies came from Mark Percival and Mose Masoe.
Caro, who has found himself playing for Championship One side Gateshead several times this season, opened the scoring in the sixth minute when he was in the right place at the right time to pounce on a loose ball, kick it forward and juggle it before sprinting clear to score.
Travis Burns was off target with his conversion attempt but Rovers held a 4-0 lead.
Saints, without a win at Rovers since 2007, drew level in the 10th minute when Percival capitalised on a defensive lapse on Rovers’ right-hand side to score from 40 metres out before missing the touchline conversion.
Rovers were dominating and made their territory and possession count further when they doubled their lead in the 25th minute. Burns was elusive in escaping the clutches of two Saints defenders to break clear and offload to the supporting Josh Hodgson, who spun a pass outside for Caro to score his second of the game and restore Rovers’ four-point lead.
Burns missed his second conversion of the game but was successful with his third in the 31st minute after Hall, who announced on Friday he would be joining Wakefield next season, scooped up a loose ball 45 metres out and sprinted home to score.
A 14-4 cushion would have been a decent lead to take into half-time but Masoe’s power drive through the KR defence was too much for the home side. Percival made no mistake from close to the posts to cut the deficit to 14-10 and Saints were happy to turn around just four points adrift given their lack of ball in Rovers’ territory.
With so little between the sides, the first try of the second half was going to be crucial.
It went Rovers’ way thanks to a scrum 10 metres inside their own half. Rovers went to their blind side where Graeme Horne took on the Saints line and beat them to score a 60-metre try. Burns’ bad day with the boot continued as he missed his third conversion from four attempts, but Rovers led 18-10.
If Burns had landed all his kicks, Rovers would have been 24-10 up - but they stretched their lead to exactly that on the hour mark when Caro completed his hat-trick. Eden spotted an overlap and used it well to send Caro over in the corner and Burns finally managed to convert from the touchline.
Victory was secured with two Hall tries in as many minutes as Saints wilted badly. The second was brilliantly set up by the impressive Eden, who kicked through for Hall to score.
The last act went to Eden himself as he rounded off the scoring four minutes from time, Burns converting to leave the final score 40-10.