Sheffield Eagles made it back-to-back Kingstone Press Championship victories after a hard- fought 20-6 victory at Whitehaven.
A Scott Turner hat-trick formed the base of the Eagles success with Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Menzie Yere also going over to give the Eagles their first win on the road this season.
Director of Rugby Mark Aston was without second-rower Jon Molloy who missed the trip with a sickness bug, but there was better news for John Davies who was declared fit to make his Eagles’ debut.
Basement side Whitehaven made the early running under the watchful eye of new full-time coach James Coyle. On a pudding of a pitch the home side showed the greater energy in the opening 10 minutes as the Eagles were forced onto the back foot.
Aston’s side weathered the early storm and came back in some style to score the opening try on 11 minutes. Knowles’ grubber kick to the corner was set upon by the sprawling Turner who touched down to give the Eagles the advantage. Patch Walker pushed the conversion wide of the far post.
The hosts recovered from the setback and following Walker’s knock on Whitehaven pressed forward. A kick on the last was latched upon by Danny Craven who grasped the loose ball to slide over, with Brett Seymour adding the extras to give the home side a 6-4 lead.
After a sustained spell from Haven, it was the Eagles who soared back into the lead on 26 minutes. Dominic Brambani took advantage of an error to give the Eagles impetuous, before his kick to the corner on the last was forced over by Turner for his second try. Walker missed the conversation.
Aston’s side seized the imitative and caught their opponents napping a minute later when Yere broke forward, allowing for an easy run-in for Quentin Laulu-Togagae. Walker hit the post with a difficult conversation as the Eagles took a 12-6 advantage into the break.
The start of the second half followed in the same vein as the first. The Eagles repelled a sustained spell of pressure before clinically taking advantage of a mistake by their hapless hosts. Brambani’s high cross-field kick was fumbled allowing Turner to storm over for his hat-trick to increase the Eagles’ advantage to 10 points. Kyle Briggs missed the conversion.
The Eagles were now in the ascendancy and just past the hour mark Yere crossed the line after Briggs stabbed a clever kick forward at the play of the ball. Brambani missed the Eagles’ fifth conversation attempt but it was a comfortable finish for Aston’s side following an error-strewn second half from the hosts.
Whitehaven: Craven, Lepori, Hulme, Parker, Calvert, Gore, Seymour, Johnson, Coyle, Leuluai, McAvoy, Aiyre, Allen. Subs: Fox, Davies, Newton, Hepi
Scorers: Tries: Craven (17) Goals: Seymour 1/1
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Smeaton, Taulapapa, Briggs, Brambani, Battye, Davey, Thorpe, Knowles, Straugheir, Walker. Subs: Aston, Tonks, Worrincy, Davies.
Scorers: Tries: Turner (11, 25 54), Laulu-Togagae (28) Yere (61) Goals: Walker 0/3, Briggs 0/1, Brambani 0/1
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow