Catalans Dragons got back to winning ways in Super League with an emphatic 44-12 victory over Castleford.
A man-of-the-match display by scrum-half Tyrone May and a hat-trick of tries for young French international Matthieu Laguerre helped the Dragons respond after last week’s defeat at Hull.
May was at the heart of everything. He stepped in for the injured Josh Drinkwater and combined brilliantly with his Mitchell Pearce at stand-off.
France prop Julian Bousquet broke the deadlock on his return after eight weeks recovering from a broken arm. He touched down by the posts in the 10th minute before full-back Arthur Mourgue added the simple conversion.
May split the Tigers’ defence to put Pearce over the line nine minutes later, with Mourgue again on target, before May shrugged off three tacklers to ground the ball and make it 16-0 after 23 minutes.
Gareth O’Brien hit back quickly with a breakaway try at the other end of the pitch and added the conversion himself to put Castleford back into the game.
But Tigers full-back James Clare dropped a Mourgue high kick to put the Dragons back on the offensive and centre Laguerre forced his way over five minutes from the interval. Mourgue’s third goal of the half made it 22-6 at the halfway mark.
HT: Catalans Dragons 22-6 Castleford Tigers
Catalans, missing a host of senior players including Sam Tomkins, Josh Drinkwater, Michael McMeeken, Dean Whare and Samisoni Langi with injuries and NRL-bound Joe Chan through suspension, extended their lead shortly after the break.
May delayed a pass to Mourgue for the full-back to score in the 44th minute, adding the conversion himself.
Castleford, still missing injured scrum-half Danny Richardson and now full-back Niall Evalds, struggled to contain the Dragons’ forwards, especially substitute prop Sam Kasiano.
Second-rower Matt Whitley was next to score for the hosts from another clever May pass in the 53rd minute. Mourgue was again on target again to push Catalans further ahead.
Seven minutes later May kicked over the Tigers defence. Laguerre pounced for his second try of the game, with Mourgue’s sixth successful conversion bringing up 40 points for the Dragons.
Former team-mates Arthur Romano and Kenny Edwards then got into a scrap 10 minutes from the end. But referee Liam Moore kept his cards in his pocket.
Castleford gave their small band of travelling supporters something to shout about with an interception by centre Mahe Fonua; and a 40-metre sprint to release winger Jason Qareqare for a try.
But the last word belonged to the Dragons. Pearce kicked through the Tigers’ defence for Laguerre to secure his hat-trick.