St Helens boss admits his side are ‘under the cosh’ after latest defeat

Josh McAllister
Paul Wellens, SWPix

Picture by Allan McKenzie/

St Helens coach Paul Wellens admits his side are “under the cosh” after suffering their fifth defeat of the Super League season.

The reigning Super League champions fell to a 24-12 loss to Steve McNamara’s Catalans, despite racing into a 12-0 lead in Perpignan thanks to tries from Alex Walmsley and Jack Welsby.

The Dragons fought back with 24 unanswered points, with tries from Arthur Mourgue and Matt Ikuvalu on debut, while Tom Davies crossed for two.  

Konrad Hurrell was sent to the sin-bin late on in the first half, which saw Catalans level the scores through NRL import Ikuvalu before the break at 12-12. 

Tonga co-captain and Catalans forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho was also sent to the sin-bin following a challenge on opposition full-back Jack Welsby. 

St Helens are now just five wins in 10 and find themselves outside of the play-offs in seventh position on the Super League table.

Paul Wellens gives honest assessment on St Helens

Wellens said: “We’ve got to give Catalans credit, they played with a real effort and intensity. At the same time we were massive contributors to our own downfall, particularly around the way we attacked.

“We came with a plan to have a bit of ball movement but as the game went on we became a little reckless and started to throw passes that were almost Hail Marys and started to chance things that weren’t there.

“It was out of character for us and a very frustrating night all in all.”

He added: “We are under the cosh a bit at the moment and we can’t just play our way out of trouble.

“Sometimes you have to take the tough carries, kick long and chase your defence, they are the things that have made this team so successful in recent times.”

Steve McNamara on victory

Catalans boss McNamara was delighted to see his side fight back, believing the victory was important for the French game as a whole following their 64-0 defeat to England in Warrington during the international break.

He said: “I have spoken about the French international side’s heavy defeat against England and the three games we lost running into this match.

“It was a very difficult moment for rugby league in France so it was so important for the game here as a whole that we had a great performance and I’m very happy with that.

“I hated that result last Saturday but the France team is stronger than that, just look at the performances tonight from Julian Bousquet, Jordan Dezaria, Paul Seguier, Romain Navarrete…that is the real France.

“And with a captain like Ben Garcia who was once again immense tonight I hope we put some pride back into rugby league here.”

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