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Hull Kingston Rovers held on for a nail-biting 28-22 playoff win over the Wolfpack on Saturday in the first ever visit by a Super League side to Toronto.

The result left both teams with one win and one loss in rugby league’s Super 8 Qualifiers.

Toronto, which will rue missed scoring opportunities in the first half, made it close.

Trailing 14-6 at the break, the second-year Wolfpack turned up the pressure and the visitors began to make mistakes and concede penalties. Toronto led 16-14 before HKR went ahead 26-16 on converted tries by Chris Atkin and Chris Clarkson in the 60th and 63rd minutes.

Toronto answered with an Andrew Dixon try, his second of the game, in the 73rd minute to cut the lead to 26-22. Former Wolfpack captain Craig Hall then added a 40-metre-plus penalty in the 76th minute to make it 28-22.

The Wolfpack, who topped the second-tier Betfred Championship during the regular season with a 20-2-1 record, had lost their two previous encounters with teams from the top-fight — 66-10 in May to Warrington Wolves and 29-22 in 2017 to Salford Red Devils, both in Ladbrokes Challenge Cup play.

The three Super League losses aside, Toronto boast a 41-3-2 career record.

The Wolfpack came into the game with a 19-1-0 career record at home (including one match at Fletcher’s Fields). The previous loss was a 30-12 defeat by Featherstone Rovers in the regular-season finale July 28.

Hull Kingston Rovers, whose history dates back to 1882, proved a tough nut to crack Saturday. After going down 6-0, they reeled off 14 straight points off Toronto errors while turning back one Wolfpack attack after another.

Toronto also got a try from Nick Rawsthorne. Gareth O’Brien kicked three conversions and two penalties before 7,540 at Lamport Stadium.

Junior Vaivai and Hall also scored tries for Hull Kingston Rovers. Danny Tickle kicked four conversions. Hall added a penalty for the Robins.

Toronto pressured HKR earlier but were stymied by handling errors by Chase Stanley and Josh McCrone before Rawsthorne dove over in the corner to give the Wolfpack the early lead.

But the visitors showed their mettle with some bone-crunching tackles, including one early Tommy Lee challenge that sent six-foot-four 245-pound Ashton Sims flying backwards. Later in the half, Tickle did not live up to his name in steamrolling Toronto fullback Gareth O’Brien.

The visitors pulled even in the 21st minute when Adam Quinlan retrieved a Blake Wallace kick at his own try-line and raced up the field. Speedy winger Mason Caton-Brown eventually ran him down but Quinlan passed to Vaivai, one of three HKR players in support, and the New Zealand-born U.S. international ran it in.

Hall gave HKR a 12-6 lead after intercepting an O’Brien pass near the visitors’ try-line and racing 90 yards for the 25th-minute score.

The Wolfpack kept coming back, laying siege at the HKR goal-line, but the Robins’ defence was sound. Toronto’s Wallace had to come off late in the first half after his head slammed into the turf while being tackled.

A late penalty made it 14-6 at the break.

Dixon finally broke through the HKR defence, breaking a Quinlan tackle to crash over in the 44th minute and cut the deficit to two. Two quick O’Brien penalties then gave Toronto a 16-14 lead.

The Super 8s Qualifiers pit the bottom four teams in the top division against the top four of the second-tier Betfred Championship in a round-robin competition.

The top three finishers earn Super League status while No 4 takes on No. 5 in what is dubbed the “Million Pound Game” to see who joins them.

Hull Kingston Rovers, which finished 10th in the 12-team top-flight this season at (8-14-1), lost 28-10 to Salford, in their Super 8s Qualifiers opener. And with Leeds Rhinos their next opponent, a win was needed Saturday.

Toronto was without both its first-choice wingers, injured in last week’s 14-0 playoff-opening win over Halifax RLFC. High-scoring Liam Kay (ankle) is done for the season with an ankle injury while Mattie Russell sat out due to concussion protocol. Rawsthorne and newcomer Caton-Brown started in their place.

Hull KR was missing veteran Australian Todd Carney (hamstring).

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