St.Helens' 100% start to the Super League season ended after a dogged Catalans Dragons side earned an 18-10 win at a wet Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Dom Peyroux got us off to a flyer, before Fouad Yaha levelled the game up. Tommy Makinson put us back in front with a trademark finish, but Sam Tomkins sent the sides in level at the break. Saints dominated much of the second half, but a Tomkins penalty and a late Tony Gigot try won the game for the Dragons.
Mark Percival, James Roby, Alex Walmsley and Zeb Taia all returned to Justin Holbrook’s side, whilst Danny Richardson started in place of the injured Theo Fages and Jack Welsby retained his place as Jonny Lomax was forced to miss the game through illness.
Despite the awful conditions over in the south of France, Saints started strongly. After just our second set, an accurate kick through from Richardson allowed Peyroux to get to the ball first and give Saints the perfect start inside three minutes. Coote added the extras giving us a 6-0 lead.
Catalans came right back at Saints though and levelled within minutes after a delicate kick through from Tomkins found Yaha in the corner. Tomkins converted from wide levelling the scores at 6-6 with just eight minutes played.
A tight 15 minutes followed with both teams defence on top before Saints managed to break the Catalans line with great handling on the right edge and Coote provided the cut-out pass to Makinson for him to score with a spectacular finish in the corner. We lead 6-10 with 25 minutes played.
Catalans were over again in the corner minutes later though this time through Tomkins, after a high ball was knocked backwards by Yaha and the former Wiganer picked up to score making the score 10-10 at half time. The full-back did have the chance to extend the hosts lead, but his penalty struck the post.
In the opening minutes of the second half Catalans were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and this time Tomkins did give them a slender lead of 12-10.
Saints pressed the Dragons line for the most of the last 30 minutes, but the French outfit, to their credit, stood firm.
And they hit us with the sucker punch late on as Gigot latched onto a neat kick through from Lucas Albert securing Catalans an 18-10 win.
Tries: Peyroux (3), Makinson (25).
Goals: Coote (1 from 2)
Starting 13: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Jack Welsby, Danny Richardson, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Dom Peyroux, Morgan Knowles.
Interchanges: Joseph Paulo, Kyle Amor, Matty Lees, Jack Ashworth.
Tries: Yaha (7), Tomkins (34), Gigot (75).
Goals: Tomkins (2 from 3)
Penalties: Tomkins (1 from 2)
Starting 13: Sam Tomkins, Fouad Yaha, Samisoni Langi, Brayden Wiliame, Lewis Tierney, Tony Gigot, Matty Smith, Julian Bousquet, Alrix Da Costa, Sam Moa, Benjamin Jullien, Matt Whitley, Remi Casty.
Interchanges: Greg Bird, Mickael Goudemand, Lucas Albert, Sam Kasiano.
REF: R. Hicks