Swift Bags Four In Loss

ADAM Swift scorched home for four tries but Saints ultimately went down 33-26 in Catalan.

In an end to end contest Zeb Taia’s late effort secured the spoils for the home side.

A breathless first half saw Swift grab a hat-trick to leave Keiron Cunningham’s men ahead at the break.

Jordan Turner supplied the pass for two of them whilst Shannon McDonnell laid on the other – as well as going under the sticks himself.

The second half – one which Saints dominated for long periods – was less free-flowing but equally as compelling.

Swift cancelled out Morgan Escare’s effort to set up a barnstorming finish before Taia did the rest to finally break the visitor’s resolve.

Saints started the game well and tagged the opener in the first couple of minutes.

Luke Walsh’s clearing kick and great defence forced an error from Morgan Escare – and Swift began his assault on the scoreboard.

The kick was inch perfect into the in-goal area; leaving the fullback with no option other than to collect and step into the field of play.

But as he did he was bundled into touch by a very energetic Jon Wilkin – giving Saints a scrum.

The ball then came left, through Walsh, Burns and McDonnell – in his second game this season for the club – for Swift to go over in the corner.

Burns missing the conversion.

Catalan forced two drop outs as they pinned back the visitors but Saints defended the trouble.

The home side then won a penalty and Benjamin Garcia scored after the video referee ruled there hadn’t been an obstruction in the build up.

Scott Dureau putting them in front.

Buoyant, Catalan were on the front foot and were awarded a number of penalties which got them down the field.

And the Dragons went further ahead when Dureau caught Zeb Taia on a good line.

Saints were guilty of not respecting the ball and as a result were being pegged back.

But on 26 minutes Swift scored again following a fantastic pass from Jordan Turner.

Walsh kept the ball alive, got it to the centre who offloaded and allowed his wingman to power over.

It was the perfect response following Catalans’ try and at the half hour mark they scored again.

After forcing a drop-out Saints recycled the ball – Turner offloaded – and Swift went over.

A lovely first half hat-trick from the flyer!

And it got better as on 35 minutes McDonnell went in for his first of the year – again thanks to a superb exchange of passes between Walsh, Roby and Burns.

But Garcia replied almost immediately after some great handling from the Dragons to make it a two point game at half time.

Saints began the second half in the ascendancy having a set… and a penalty… on the Dragons’ line.

Catalan weathered the storm and on 52 minutes almost went ahead but Tommy Makinson stopped a certain Fouad Yaha try.

Unlike the first 40, the second wasn’t as free flowing as the conditions and defences got on top.

But after dominating in terms of chances and possession Saints conceded as Escare broke through.

Dureau tagged on a penalty to make it 26-20 but Saints pulled it back with a superb try right from inside their own half.

Walsh sent the ball wide, Josh Jones made the break and Swift did the rest.

Saints needed to keep their nerve but the harshest of penalties – Richards bizarrely called for ball stealing in a one on one tackle – under Catalan’s sticks allowed them to clear.

Taia then showed some wonderful footwork to go under the posts with less than five minutes remaining.

Saints tried to set up a frantic finale but Dureau’s drop goal, on the stroke of full time, took it away from them.

Match Summary:

Dragons:

Tries: Garcia (2), Taia (2), Escare

Goals: Dureau (6 from 7)

Drop: Dureau

Saints: 

Tries: Swift (4), McDonnell

Goals: Burns (0 from 2), Walsh (3 from 3)

Penalties: 

Dragons: 13

Saints: 6

HT: 20-18

FT: 26-33

REF: James Child

ATT: 8,886

Teams:

Dragons: 

1. Morgan Escaré; 20. Damien Cardace, 18. Benjamin Garcia, 4. Willie Tonga, 27. Fouad Yaha; 6. Todd Carney, 7. Scott Dureau; 8. Olivier Elima, 9. Ian Henderson, 10. Rémi Casty, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Elliott Whitehead, 24. Jason Baitieri.

Subs: 12. Louis Anderson, 13. Gregory Mounis, 21. Julian Bousquet, 26. Sta Robin.

Saints: 

34. Shannon McDonnell; 2. Tommy Makinson, 17. Mark Percival, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Travis Burns, 7. Luke Walsh; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Alex Walmsley, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 18. Luke Thompson.

Subs: 4. Josh Jones, 8. Mose Masoe, 19. Greg Richards, 25. Andre Savelio.

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