Catalans Dragons and St Helens were at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of results in round one so it’s going to be an interesting one on Saturday.
The Dragons suffered a heavy 40-12 defeat at Widnes Vikings in their opening game of the season while St Helens demolished 2017 League Leaders’ Shield winners Castleford Tigers 46-6 at The Totally Wicked Stadium.
Ben Barba was sensational for Saints last week. He scored two tries and came up with three assists for Mark Percival. The former Dally M Medal winner was a joy to watch and the Dragons face a difficult task of keeping him quiet.
But Catalans have got a lot of talent as well and they are a much better side at home rather than away, and many visiting teams find it hard to come away from the South of France with the two points.
Saints forward Zeb Taia, who used to play for Catalans, told saintsrlfc.com: “I went over to Widnes at watched their game.
“It was a tough first hit out. I’m sure they will be ready to go this week. No one wants to start off a season like that and I’m sure those boys will be ready. It will be a tough game for us.
“It can be hostile for away teams going there, I know confidence is high in the group over there too when they play at home.
“We have to worry about ourselves, preparing well and doing what we can to come away with the victory.”
Catalans coach Steve McNamara has made three changes to his 19-man squad who travelled to Widnes last week. Greg Bird and Thibaud Margalet return from injury while Alrix Da Costa has also been included.
The trio replace injured duo Paul Aiton and Samisoni Langi and suspended prop Sam Moa.
Saints boss Justin Holbrook has made one change to his side that trashed Castleford Tigers last week. Adam Swift comes into the squad in place of the injured Ryan Morgan.
Catalans 19-man squad: Mead, Broughton, Thornley, Wiliame, Walsh, Casty, Garcia, Bird, Bousquet, Simon, Duport, Baitieri, Margalet, McIlorum, Tierney, Jullien, Albert, Maria, Da Costa.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Walmsley, Roby, Amor, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Peyroux, Richardson, Grace, Barba.
Last ten meetings:
St Helens 46, Catalans Dragons 28 (SLR22, 16/7/17)
Catalans Dragons 24, St Helens 28 (SLR5, 18/3/17)
St Helens 39, Catalans Dragons 16 (SLS8-R2, 12/8/16)
Catalans Dragons 33, St Helens 16 (SLR18, 11/6/16)
St Helens 12, Catalans Dragons 30 (SLR11, 14/4/16)
Catalans Dragons 26, St Helens 16 (SLS8-R1, 8/8/15)
Catalans Dragons 33, St Helens 26 (SLR14, 9/5/15)
St Helens 18, Catalans Dragons 7 (SLR1, 6/2/15)
St Helens 30, Catalans Dragons 12 (SLQSF, 2/10/14)
Catalans Dragons 42, St Helens 0 (SLR16, 14/6/14)
Super League summary:
Catalans Dragons won 12
St Helens won 16 (includes win in 2014 play-offs)
Catalans Dragons highest score: 42-0 (H, 2014) (also widest margin)
St Helens highest score: 53-10 (H, 2007) (also widest margin)
The clash at the Stade Gilbert Brutus kicks-off at 5:05pm and is being shown LIVE by Sky Sports.
Who do you think will win? Let us know in the comments below.