Ruthless Saints show class as they thrash Hull FC

Regan Grace scores against Hull FC. Picture: SWPix
Regan Grace scores against Hull FC. Picture: SWPix

St Helens produced a masterclass to illustrate the gulf at the top of Super League with a 40-12 rout of third-placed Hull at the KCOM Stadium.

Australian full-back Lachlan Coote scored two of his side's seven tries and kicked six conversions for a 20-point haul as Saints pulled 10 points clear of Warrington with one hand on the League Leaders' Shield.

Justin Holbrook's men made light of the absence of skipper James Roby and back-up hooker Aaron Smith, with James Bentley stepping effortlessly into the makeshift role as part of a well-oiled machine.

Hull trailed 40-0 before producing a late fightback but it was scant consolation as they crashed to a fifth home defeat of the season.

Lee Radford's men were hammered 62-16 at St Helens on Easter Monday and the bad news for the Black and Whites is these two sides meet again in September.

Hull had stand-off Albert Kelly and forward Gareth Ellis back from injury, although the latter went off with a head knock four minutes before half-time, when they trailed 18-0 after a calamitous first half.

Saints exposed the frailty of Hull's defence five minutes in when loose forward Morgan Knowles took a short pass from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook to jink his way over for the opening try.

Three minutes later scrum-half Theo Fages followed up his own kick which Hull winger Ratu Naulago failed to deal with to score a second try and a fumble by Marc Sneyd gifted another to Coote as he chased Tom Makinson's kick from the wing.

Coote kicked all three conversions to put his side in a comfortable position at the break.

Hull had their moments but came up with too many errors to turn them into points and their best chance was wasted by Kelly when he broke clear and kicked ahead only for Saints centre Mark Percival to easily diffuse the danger.

Any hope of a Hull fightback was snuffed out within six minutes of the re-start when stand-off Jonny Lomax combined with Percival and Coote to get winger Regan Grace racing over for their fourth try.

Saints' handling was sublime at times and even prop forward Kyle Amor joined in the fun as fellow front rower Jack Ashworth strolled over on 50 minutes.

Percival failed to get on the scoresheet but he was never far from the action and after his perfectly-timed pass released Grace, Lomax was in support to finish off.

Coote then took a return pass from the England centre to score his second try and his sixth goal made it 40-0 after 56 minutes.

Saints were the last team to nil the Black and Whites just over two years ago in Newcastle but a late rally at least salvaged some pride for the home side.

Full-back Jamie Shaul, who overcame an early leg injury, forced his way over for a consolation try on 66 minutes shortly before Naulago produced a devastating finish to claim his 11th of the season.

Sneyd added both conversions to add further irritation to the leaders, who have rarely had to work so little to achieve a resounding victory.