Celtic Crusaders 18-30 Catalans Dragons

Catalans Dragons overcame a stubborn Celtic Crusaders side with a 30-18 victory at the Brewery Field.

Late tries to Stephen Bell and Cyril Stacul wrapped up the game in the final fifteen minutes for the French team, but they had to stave off a comeback from a home team buoyed by the previous week’s historic win at Bradford.

Indeed, the Welshmen started the brightest, centre Josh Hannay getting over the whitewash after just five minutes after Stacul had failed to deal with a high ball.

The Crusaders could not stop the resultant kick-off from bouncing into touch, however, and the stage was set for controversial Australian halfback Greg Bird to reach over and equalise almost immediately for the Dragons.

The teams started the game in the bottom two positions, and the lack of confidence was apparent from both sets of players in a scrappy first half.

However, France halfback Thomas Bosc provided the touch of class that separated the sides, sending Olivier through a gap on 20 minutes for a converted try.

The Perpignan side extended their lead shortly afterwards when Adam Mogg got on the end of a Bird grubber kick and, when Shane Perry finished a superb move after a Gossard break, the Dragons were good value for a 22-6 half-time lead.

The Crusaders showed much more purpose after the break, with a Jason Chan try on the left followed by a superb score from Jordan James after Jace van Dijk had laid on a pinpoint cross-field kick.

But Bosc stepped up to the fore again with the scores poised at 18-22 for the visitors, and his run created space for a wonderful cut-out pass from Mogg to Bell which ensured the points were going back to France.

As the Crusaders pushed for a late consolation, Stacul pounced for an interception that added gloss to a hard-fought victory for the French team.

The match, the first ever in Super League not to feature an English side, was marred by severely looking injuries to both teams, with Julien Touxagas and Clint Greenshields both forced to leave the field for the visitors, either side of a suspected dislocated elbow to Crusaders halfback Matty Smith.

Nevertheless, Catalans coach Kevin Walters will be relieved to get the win, Les Dragons’ first since mid-April, before an important clash with Leeds at Stade Gilbert Brutus on 6th June.

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