Young Catalans duo impress head coach Steve McNamara

Catalans boss Steve McNamara heaped praise on Mathieu Laguerre and Arthur Mourgue after the pair came into the side at late notice to help the Dragons topple defending champions St Helens.

Regular full-back Sam Tomkins and centre Samisoni Langi pulled out ahead of kick-off, forcing a reshuffle in the backs.

Utility back Mourgue, 22, was promoted from the bench, while Laguerre, 22, came in for his first taste of action since making an impressive debut against Hull KR in round one.

Mathieu Laguerre scored on his Dragons debut back in round one

Neither player managed to get on the scoresheet in the Dragons’ 20-16 victory at the Stade Gilbert Brutus, but McNamara insists their role in Saturday’s win mustn’t be understated.

He said: “Losing Sam Tomkins and Samisoni Langi before kick-off made things very difficult for us.

“We’d had a short week, coming back from Hull on Monday, so for us to cope with all of that it was a great performance.

“Mathieu Laguerre trained with our reserves this morning and he was expecting to play at Lezignan tomorrow but he had a fantastic game, alongside Arthur Mourgue.”

READ: Kristian Woolf frustrated by St Helens’ ‘below-par’ display in defeat at Catalans

McNamara also hailed the defensive resilience of his side, despite Saints scoring twice in the final 10 minutes to set up a dramatic finale.

“The best defensive teams give themselves a chance to win the competition and we haven’t been that over the last couple of years – it is something we acknowledge,” he said.

“Some of the decisions we have made with our squad this season have been designed to enhance that side of our game.

“I thought we were very good defensively against Saints tonight. I don’t think we were too great on attack but our defence won the game.”

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