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The champions elect St Helens made the trip to Perpignan to face a Catalans Dragons side still smarting from the beating that they suffered at the hands of the Wigan Warriors last weekend.

A home win would lift the Dragons into fifth place in the table, but they were big underdogs with the bookies, who were convinced that the Saints would pick up the win that they needed to jump over the Warrington Wolves and head back into the top spot at the one third point of the season.

Heavy rain and cooler conditions in the south of France were also likely to benefit the visitors.

A sliding Dominic Peyroux grounded a Richardson kick through to open the Saints account after just four minutes. Lachlan Coote added the conversion for a 6-0 lead. It was the perfect start for the visitors.

On seven minutes Fouad Yaha grounded a Sam Tomkins grubber at the same time as Tommy Makinson and the decision was sent upstairs as a try and confirmed by the video referee. The conditions were having a big influence on the game. Tomkins  drilled the conversion between the uprights from the touchline to level the scores.

There was stalemate until the twenty-fourth minute as Tommy Makinson leapt for the line to ground in the corner after the Dragons had conceeded a penalty for holding down just inside their own half. Coote was unable to add the extras in difficult conditions.

The sides were level again on thirty-three thanks to Sam Tomkins collecting a Yaha knock-down from a high kick to the corner. The full back went outside the defenders to avoid the tacklers and score in the corner. His kick went wide of the near upright but at 10-10 Saints knew that they were in a real battle.

Inside the last minute Saints were penalised for being offside on the half-way line and Tomkins elected to take the kick at goal but hit the left hand post. The sides were all square at the interval.

Regan Grace and Coote made a real mess of a Catalans high kick through, Coote eventually picking up the ball, which had been touched by Grace, in an offside position giving Tomkins a simple kick to give the Dragons a two point lead.

The Dragons were giving as good at they were getting, this game didn’t have the ahllmarks of the one sided encounter that had been promised before kick-off

Tony Gigot twice put his side under pressure after losing the ball in his own forty and under pressure the home side were forced to make repeat goal line drop outs. Saints were bombarding the Dragons line but aggressive defence kept them at bay.

On seventy four Tony Gigot became the Dragons hero when he stepped past the Saints defenders to ground a delightful Lucas Albert grubber kick for a massive four pointer. When Tomkins slipped his conversion between the uprights it was 18-10 to the Dragons with just five minutes left on the clock.

Saints threw everything into the last five minutes but a heroic Dragons defence held firm as they saw out an 18-10 win.

This was a tremendously gritty performance from the Catalans Dragons in difficlut playing conditions with mud underfoot and a first half played mostly in torrential rain. The home sides defence was awesome, frustrating the Saints on every attack. The Dragons were patient enough to build their attacks and take their chances when they arose to inflict St Helens first defeat of the season and ensure that Saints end the weekend off the top spot for the first time in 2019.

Dragons: Tomkins (T, 3G), Yaha (T), Langi, Wiliame, Tierney, Gigot (T), Smith, Moa, Da Costa, Bousquet, Jullien, Whitley, Casty.  Subs: Bird, Goudemand, Albert, Kasiano.

Saints: Coote (G), Makinson (T), Percival, Naiqama, Grace, Welsby, Richardson, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux (T), Knowles.  Subs: Paulo, Amor, Lees, Ashworth.

Referee: Rob Hicks.

Half-Time: 10-10.

Full-Time: 18-10.

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 6th Apr 2019 6:51 PM | Views : 2656 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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