St.Helens take on Catalans Dragons for a spot in the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, with kick-off scheduled for 8pm (UK) / 9pm (France).
It’s do-or-die rugby with the competition’s biggest stage awaiting the winner on Saturday, 14th October.
The Saints travel to Perpignan in the South of France to face Catalans Dragons in what will be the toughest test of the 2023 season yet. The Dragons finished the regular season in second place by points difference, both the Red V and Wigan were on the same league points, but out of the top three Saints’ points difference meant they had to settle for third place.
By placing in the top two, Catalans earned a home Semi-Final and perhaps more importantly, a week off at the business end of the season. Meanwhile, Paul Wellens’ men battled against Warrington Wolves in wet conditions to earn their spot in the final four and set up this mouth watering encounter.
There are two changes to the squad that won the Eliminator Play-Off win over the Wolves, with Joe Batchelor and Dan Norman stepping out of the selection. Young forwards Matthew Foster and George Delaney come into the 21-man side.
Click on the image below to read more about our Squad News!
After a week off, the Dragons have named a strong squad for their home match in the Semi-Final, with most of their key and senior men available for selection.
Catalans Dragons’ 21-man squad vs St. Helens
1. Arthur Morgue, 2. Tom Davies, 3. Adam Keighran, 6. Tyrone May, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. Mike McMeeken, 9. Micky McIlorum, 10. Julian Bousquet, 11. Matt Whitley, 12. Paul Séguier, 13. Benjamin Garcia, 14. Alrix Da Costa, 16. Romain Navarrete, 18. Tiaki Chan, 19. Arthur Romano, 21. Matt Ikuvalu, 22. Suia Taukeiaho, 23. Jordan Dezaria, 24. Tom Johnstone, 26. Manu Ma’u, 29. Sam Tomkins.
WELLENS PREVIEWS SEMI-FINAL IN FRANCE
Paul Wellens looks ahead to Friday’s huge game in France, as the Saints look to book their route into the Grand Final for a fifth successive season, but to do the job it will take the toughest route this group of Saints has had to go down in this period of success.
The Boss is confident his group of men can rise to the occasion, and they want these challenges. Wellens also gives the latest update on his squad, and looks ahead to an intense encounter in Perpignan.
THE RECORD AGAINST CATALANS
Super League summary
Saints and Catalans have met 43 times in league action, with the Red V leading the overall head-to-head score with 25 wins to the Dragons 18. Of our 25 wins over the French outfit, two have come in the play-offs in 2014 and 2020, and the big one in 2021 at the Grand Final.
The highest winning Saints score against Catalans came back in a 2007 home game, 53-10, and the Saints’ widest winning margin over the Dragons was in the 2020 semi-final winning 48-2.
Last ten meetings
St Helens 12, Catalans Dragons 14 (SLR19, 13/7/23)
Catalans Dragons 24, St Helens 12 (SLR11, 5/5/23)
Catalans Dragons 20, St Helens 18 (SLR17, 2/7/22)
Catalans Dragons 20, St Helens 36 (CCQF, 9/4/22)
St Helens 28, Catalans Dragons 8 (SLR1, 10/2/22)
Catalans Dragons 10, St Helens 12 (SLGF, 9/10/21) (at Old Trafford, Manchester)
Catalans Dragons 31, St Helens 30 (aet) (SLR23, 4/9/21) (at St James’ Park, Newcastle)
St Helens 34, Catalans Dragons 12 (SLR18, 7/8/21)
Catalans Dragons 20, St Helens 16 (SLR7, 22/5/21)
St Helens 48, Catalans Dragons 2 (SLSF, 20/11/20)
200 🆙 FOR MORGS
Should Morgan Knowles take to the field in the Betfred Super League Semi-Final against Catalans Dragons, he will register his 200th appearance in a Saints shirt!
Morgan made his debut back in 2015 at home against York City Knights off the bench, and since then he has gone on to win four Super League titles, a Challenge Cup, and a World Club Challenge trophy too.
Another one of the Saints youth system who has worked hard, progressed, established himself to be an important player for our team.
A LOOK AT THE DRAGONS…
Catalans Dragons have become one of the toughest teams in the Super League in recent years, their standards have been raised and expectations too under Head Coach Steve McNamara, who has done a great job in the South of France.
When McNamara joined the Dragons in June 2017, the Dragons were fighting for Super League survival and they managed to stay in the elite competition by winning the Million Pound Game. Since then, they’ve never looked back, securing the French club’s first piece of silverware in 2018 by winning the Challenge Cup, earning Play-Off rugby in 2020 and 2022, as well as their first League Leaders’ Shield and a maiden Grand Final appearance in 2021.
In 2023, they will say goodbye to Sam Tomkins who has become something of a talisman for the Dragons during his time with the Club. The former England captain is retiring come the end of the campaign, but they have their replacement already lined up in Arthur Morgue, who represents their ever increasing pool of developing French talent.
Over the year, the Dragons in the league won 20 matches, losing 7, finishing on a point difference of +302.
The motivation will be high for Catalans, in front of their own fans they want to go through to the Grand Final, they will want to get one over the current four times in a row Champions, and look to send Sam Tomkins off on the biggest stage.
WHAT KIT WILL SAINTS BE WEARING?
As Friday’s game is an away fixture St Helens will be wearing our 2023 Away Kit, which in our milestone 150th year, features our club’s traditional colours of sky blue and navy, with a classic deep V design along with some finer details, including our 150 year crest.
Pick yours up online by visiting saintssuperstore.com!
THE OTHER SEMI-FINAL
Wigan Warriors like Catalans Dragons earned a week off and they take on Hull KR in an exciting clash at the DW Stadium. Kick-off for that game is at 12:45pm on Saturday (7th October) and it will be broadcast live on Channel 4 from 12:30pm, and also on Sky Sports too.
The Robins have already beaten the Warriors in Semi-Finals rugby this season, winning in Golden Point in the Challenge Cup to go to Wembley. However, Willie Peters’ side would suffer extra time heartbreak of their own at the national stadium in the Final against Leigh.
However, since the loss in the Challenge Cup Final, Hull KR have only lost one match and that was to St.Helens. Going into the play-offs they edged the Leopards by points difference to earn a home Eliminator Play-Off last week, and they got a small slice of revenge by beating Leigh 20-6 to go into the Semi-Finals.
Wigan just edged past St.Helens and Catalans Dragons to secure the League Leaders’ Shield by points difference in what has been a strong season for the Warriors. Like last year, Matty Peet’s have a home Semi-Final, but they will be striving to perform better than they did at this stage in the last campaign, crashing out to Leeds Rhinos 8-20.
WHO WILL BE THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE?
Chris Kendall will be the referee for Friday night’s Semi-Final fixture, and he will be supported by Touch Judges W. Turley and S. Vincent, alongside Video Referee Jack Smith.
LMS UP TO 7TH 📈
Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook if selected to play in this Friday’s Semi-Final would move up to joint seventh place in Super League’s all-time leading appearance makers for the competition.
Currently, the Southern Saint sits in joint eight with Rob Burrow on 429 matches in the top-flight competition, but one more match would move him to 430 and tied with Ben Westwood, two more would see him outright seventh alone.
We don’t need to remind you who holds the record for the most Super League match appearances… 🐐 (He’s on 494 currently)
HOW CAN I FOLLOW THE GAME?
Saints will be covering the match in full across our live Match Centre where you can find out the team news, follow live game updates, get behind the scenes photos and catch up on all the stories of the game.
Highlights and the full match replay will also be made available for Saints TV subscribers.
The game will also be live on Sky Sports from 7:30pm on Sky Sports Arena.