Saints ready and prepared for long trip to Catalans

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham is ignoring his team’s past record against Catalans Dragons, as he prepares his team to face the French outfit in Perpignan on Saturday.

Saints were well beaten on their last trip to Catalonia in June 2014, being beaten 42-0. Cunningham is only concerned about what his players will do this week, though.

“It’s going to be tough, it’s always a tough trip,” he said.

“It’s a lovely part of the world, and it is a long, extensive plane flight there, then jump on a bus from Barcelona, so Thursday’s a long day.

“We have plenty of time to recover from it, and we’ll get out on the field on Friday, so I’m looking forward to it.

“This is my first trip to Catalans as head coach, so it’s sort of a new era for the club.

“I never look at the past to go forward, I never do that. I always look at what we have a bearing on and how we prepare.”

One factor which the Saints have to face is the weather in the South of France, which can be very hot indeed.

I don’t want to make excuses, but the game over there last year was one of the hottest temperatures I’ve ever been around,” he said.

“That was the only time I’ve ever got off a plane and said that I’m glad I’m not playing.

“It was ridiculously hot. They had a mini heatwave at that time.

“You feel for the players. The Catalans boys love playing in the heat.

“But that’s just one of those things you’ve got to live with. We’d like to think it’ll be a little bit cooler than last time.”

Cunningham is very wary of the threat which is posed by an entertaining Catalans side, who have some fantastic looking young players now in their matchday line-up.

“They’ve got great players across the field,” he said.

“Some of these young French kids they’ve brought in are outstanding, and anybody would have them in their side.

“They’ve got a great full-back, and the two halves are outstanding. They’ve got strike on both edges, so they’re a tough team to play against.

“They like to throw the ball about and play a bit of ad lib stuff.

“You pair that strike up with two great halves and a good nine and it’s definitely a recipe for disaster when you play against it.

“We’ve got to be on the money. Defensively we’ve got to be doing the right things, and we’ve got to be well-prepared for it.

“We know we can score points, we know we’re a great attacking side.

“We’ve worked hard defensively and we’d like to think we can go and do a job.”

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