Derbies ‘not quite as special’ anymore, says Chester

Hull KR coach Chris Chester believes that the major derby matches between themselves and rivals Hull FC are just “not quite as special” anymore – insisting they play them too many times.

The Robins and the Black and Whites meet this weekend in a pre-season friendly, with the Clive Sullivan Trophy at stake. They will play each other three more times in the regular season alone, before potentially another meeting in the Super 8s if they are both in the same bracket of the league after the split.

That excludes a potential meeting in the Challenge Cup too, and for Chester, the derbies are just too often to have the appeal they used to.

“These games are never friendlies,” he insists.

“But I just think we play them three times in the league and we now play them in a friendly too, I just think that they’re not quite as special as what they used to be.

“We seem to play them so many times in a year that they’re not quite where they were – but they’re still big games and they’re very important matches. I understand why the friendly is played, but we won’t be reading too much into the occasion, it’s about a reaction.”

Chester also revealed that although captain Terry Campese is ahead of schedule, it’s unlikely he’ll be ready for the opening game against Castleford on February 7.

Meanwhile, Kevin Larroyer and Shaun Lunt are set for surgeries on shoulder and ankle problems respectively – and they will definitely miss the season opener against Cas.