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A Saints side, still on a high after last weeks drubbing of the Castleford Tigers, travelled to the south of France to take on a Catalans Dragons side who suffered an opening round loss at the hands of the Widnes Vikings.

The home side welcomed the return of the vastly experienced Greg Bird to the starting line-up teamed with Lucas Albert in the halves, and the whole camp will have been lifted by the news that Tony Gigot had won his appeal against a two year ban, clearing his way for a return to the side in the near future. The visitors made a couple of changes with Adam Swift in for Ryan Morgan in the backs and Kyle Amor being replaced by Luke Douglas in the forwards.

Few gave the Dragons much hope of a positive result, with most commentators and pundits expecting a Saints walkover.

It was a dream start for Saints opening their account through Jonny Lomax who took a neat inside Ben Barba pass to go twenty metres through a non-existant Dragons defence to score. Danny Richardson added the extras for 6-0.

Far from capitulating it was the Dragons who then took the game to Saints and were denied on several occasions by last ditch defence. On eighteen Ben Garcia was denied a try after referee Bentham adjudged the last pass to be forward.

But the Dragons could get no reward for their dominance and on twenty-three Barba was again the provider as, this time, Regan Grace scored an airborne try, grounding by the left corner flag. Richardson converted brilliantly from tight to the touchline and Saints had doubled their lead.

Five minutes from the interval Brayden Wiliame and Thibaut Margalet both went close but the Saints defence held strong once again, denying the home side their opening points of the game and ensuring a 12-0 interval lead.

Wiliame again went close on forty-three and four minutes later full back David Mead pushed his way past four defenders to ground on the line for the Dragons opening try of the right, just reward for their efforts in attack. Lucas Albert slotted the conversion between the uprights to halve the arrears.

On fifty-one, a very ugly tackle from Morgan Knowles, spinning Margalet onto his head in a one on one tackle ended up with the Saints player red-carded and his side playing the rest of the game with twelve men.

Benjamin Jullien followed Knowles to the sideline when he saw yellow three minutes later for a so-called ‘crusher tackle’ to level the numbers.

Squirming out of a couple of tackles, Adam Swift scored Saints third on fifty-eight after a jinking run to the line on the back of a Tommy Makinson pass. Richardson added his third conversion, again from very wide, for 18-6.

On sixty-two Alrix Da Costa managed to burrow under the Saints defenders with scoot from acting half-back to ground on the line. Albert kicked his second conversion of the night and again the margin was back down to six points.

With ten minutes remaining the Dragons blocked a Saints chasing runner but Richardson failed to kick the two point penalty, striking the upright. But on the next attack he steadied himself and slotted over a one-pointer to add a safety net for Saints.

It was enough to crush any remaining Catalans hopes and a last minute Richardson penalty, after a high tackle, made the final score 21-12.

Saints didn’t have this game all their own way and their task was made more difficult after the sending off of Knowles. But they stayed one step ahead of the Dragons and although the home side put in a reasonable performance the Saints win was never really in any doubt.

Saints made it two from two victories, while the Dragons lick their wounds with two opening defeats, a trend which they will be desperate to arrest. They can take some positives out of the game, but coach McNamara will be concerned about their inability to convert possession into points when they are in their opponents twenty.

Dragons: Mead (T), Broughton, Thornley, Wiliame, Tierney, Bird, Albert (2G), Casty, McIlorum, Simon, Jullien (SB), Garcia, Baitieri.  Subs: Bousquet, Margalet, Maria, Da Costa (T).

Saints: Barba, Swift (T), Makinson, Percival, Grace (T), Lomax (T), Richardson (4G, DG), Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin.  Subs: Fages, Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles (SO).

Referee: Phil Bentham.

Half-Time: 0-12.

Full-Time: 12-21.

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 10th Feb 2018 6:56 PM | Views : 3414 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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