Saints Dowse Dragons

SAINTS stretched their unbeaten run to five with a 40-22 victory over Catalan Dragons – but it took all their resolve and stamina to stay top of the table.

Missing Jordan Turner, Luke Walsh and Sia Soliola in the second half and rolling just one sub for 40 minutes it took a superb defensive effort to edge the match.

Thankfully, Saints had the insurance of a 24-0 lead before Catalan began to fight back.

Tries from Josh Jones, a Tommy Makinson double and a further score from Jordan Turner gave the home side a deserved lead.

But the Dragons hit right back though Benjamin Garcia and Eloi Pelissier to give Saints the jitters.

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook popped up early in the second half, but Michael Oldfield replied to make it game on.

Down on numbers Saints wobbled but Lance Hohaia scored with more than a quarter of the game to go to give them breathing space.

Oldfield bagged another in the corner again but Jonny Lomax fed Adam Swift for the killer score.

Saints made a couple of changes from the side that beat Hull KR last week – Josh Jones moving from loose forward to the centres in place of Gary Wheeler whilst Paul Wellens came in at 13.

Anthony Laffranchi was also recalled to a bench that was packed with size and talent… and they needed to be.

On the other hand, Catalan couldn’t afford such luxuries with 12 players unavailable for the match.

They were missing Vincent Duport, Daryl Millard, Scott Dureau, Ben Pomeroy, Damien Cardace, Antoni Maria and Ian Henderson whilst Louis Anderson, Olivier Elima and Julian Bousquet were suspended.

Jamal Fakir and Brent Webb were also absent from a side struggling for confidence.

That didn’t seem to matter at first though as Saints fumbled the kick off and gave the Dragons prime field position.

The defence held firm and on 10 minutes that good work was rewarded with points.

The home side repelled borders a couple of times and on the back of a penalty for a swinging arm, Josh Jones showed all his strength to get over in the corner.

Luke Walsh with the extras.

Five minutes later Saints were further ahead. They picked up a loose Dragons pass and Jonny Lomax combined with Jordan Turner for Tommy Makinson’s fourth of the season.

And it was 18-0 at the 20 minute mark as Walsh and Lomax put Turner in.

Makinson returned a kick with interest for 24-0 before Catalan finally got the ball in Saints’ 10.

And it made all the difference as Benjamin Garcia and then Eloi Pelissier ploughed over.

Saints came out 12 points up in the second half but without Luke Walsh who was withdrawn at half time.

It mattered little as within four minutes they were 28-12 up after LMS profited from a superb Sia Soliola run.

The big man then left the field with a leg injury that looked pretty serious; joining Turner and Walsh on the sidelines.

Saints reshuffled and used quick runs from dummy half to move the ball forward.

And it was effective at times as it put the Dragons on the back foot.

Swift had one chalked off for crossing with around a quarter of the game to go and, ironically, seconds later, Michael Oldfield put the Catalans right back into it.

Saints were down to just one sub and it was beginning to show; the forwards struggling to make inroads and a lot of defensive work called upon.

But cometh the hour cometh the team and with Kyle Amor back on the field, he ripped down the middle and created the space for Willie Manu who went to within inches.

Wilkin then fired out a wonderful long ball for Lance Hohaia to canter in.

Michael Oldfield replied once again but Lomax’ long pass to Swift finished the game.

Match Summary:

Tries: Jones, Makinson (2), Turner, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Hohaia, Swift
Goals: Walsh (4 from 4), Lomax (2 from 3)

Tries: Garcia, Pelissier, Oldfield (2)
Goals: Bosc (3 from 4)

Saints: 7
Catalan: 8

HT: 24-12
FT: 40-22

REF: George Stokes

ATT: 11321


1. Jonny Lomax; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Luke Walsh; 18. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 16. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Willie Manu, 17. Paul Wellens.
Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.11. Sia Soliola, 14. Anthony Laffranchi.

21. Morgan Escaré; 5. Michael Oldfield, 27. Jean-Philippe Baile, 19. Mathias Pala, 28. Frédéric Vaccari; 3. Leon Pryce, 6. Thomas Bosc; 20. Mickael Simon, 16. Eloi Pelissier, 10. Jeff Lima, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Elliott Whitehead, 24. Jason Baitieri.
Subs: 13. Greg Mounis, 23. Lopini Paea, 29. Benjamin Garcia, 30. Gadwin Springer.

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