It’s what SL is about: Catalans win over St Helens ‘huge’ following a bad moment for French rugby league

James Gordon
Steve McNamara Catalans Dragons News Images

Photo: Steve Flynn/News Images

Catalans showcased their value as a Super League club on and off the pitch with a 24-12 win over reigning champions St Helens.

With French rugby league licking its wounds following a double humbling at the hands of England in last week’s internationals, Catalans put on a show.

A bizarre incident involving a pre-match parade of bulls, organised by Dragons owner Bernard Guasch to celebrate the quality of local produce, created a buzzing atmosphere under the lights at Stade Gilbert Brutus.

Although Catalans fell behind to tries from Alex Walmsley, crashing over from close range, and then Jack Welsby, backing up a Konrad Hurrell offload, they responded with 24 unanswered points to curb a run of three straight defeats.

Coach Steve McNamara told Sky Sports: “It was huge for us. We lost our last three games and we didn’t play but we lose. And then the international was a bad moment for French rugby league.

“We didn’t like the taste of that, and we knew we needed to respond. The performance has been really good, the stadium and everything surrounding it has been excellent. It’s what Super League is about. We put a show on and put rugby league in France back on the map.

“I was a little bit surprised when we were 12-0 down because we were playing pretty well, but the best way to respond is with 24 unanswered points.

“We’ll enjoy it tonight and then prepare for a tough game at Castleford.”

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Catalans get the better of champions

Arthur Mourgue danced through after a neat step and pass by Sam Tomkins to put the Dragons on the board, and they levelled the scores when debutant Matt Ikuvalu went over on the right, shortly after Hurrell had been sinbinned for dissent.

Catalans too ended the half with 12-men, and the scores were also locked at 12-all when the hooter sounded.

An Adam Keighran penalty early in the second half nudged them in front, with a brace of tries from Tom Davies sending St Helens to their fifth defeat of the season.

Saints coach Paul Wellens said: “We made too many unforced errors. Catalans played well and made it difficult for us.

“We were poor tonight, we’ve got to accept that. We’ve had success in recent weeks moving the ball but tonight we were reckless with it, made too many errors and gave ourselves too much to do defensively.

“We’ve got to get better. We’ve got plenty of time to get better, but we need to make it happen, and we need to make it happen quick.”

The defeat means St Helens remain outside the play-off places, although they do have a game in hand.

MORE: Watch: Catalans players run for cover in extraordinary pre-match incident involving a bull?!