Match Preview: Catalans Dragons (A)

It’s a table topping clash for the Saints this weekend as we travel to Perpignan to take on the Catalans Dragons on Saturday, 6th April, with the game kicking off at 8:05pm (UK) / 9:05pm (France).

📰 SQUAD NEWS

Paul Wellens has three changes to the squad that was announced last week for the Good Friday win over Wigan Warriors.

Mark Percival, Matty Less and Waqa Blake step out, whilst Jake Burns, Tee Ritson and Noah Stephens come in.

To find out more about our squad news, please click or tap on the image below.

Catalans Dragons’ 21-man squad vs St.Helens

1. Arthur Mourgue, 2. Tom Davies, 3. Arthur Romano, 4. Matthieu Laguerre, 7. Theo Fages, 8. Mike McMeeken, 9. Micky McIlorum, 10. Julian Bousquet, 11. Tariq Sims, 12. Paul Seguier, 13. Benjamin Garcia, 14. Alrix Da Costa, 16. Romain Navarrete, 17. César Rouge, 18. Ito Tison, 20. Chris Satae, 21. Matt Ikuvalu, 24. Tom Johnstone, 25. Loan Castano, 27. Jordan Abdul, 28. Franck Maria.

📲 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.

Our club social media accounts will also keep supporters updated. Follow us on: Twitter/X | Facebook | Instagram

Highlights and the full match replay will be available for Saints TV subscribers.

The match will be live on BBC Three, and BBC iPlayer too.

⚫ WHAT KIT WILL SAINTS BE WEARING?

St.Helens will be wearing, for the first time in Betfred Super League match action, our brand-new 24 Away Kit!

Our colours for the road this year are a striking black and red combo, a modern and exciting colour clash that delivers a memorable design. The shirt is predominantly a deep black with a tonal grey pixel design to the front and back, as well as a red pixelated Chevron design to the sides of the torso.

As revealed back in November, Saints have partnered with one of the most well-respected local charities in 2024 – Willowbrook Hospice.

The partnership, formed alongside long-standing Club partners Totally Wicked, who have kindly donated part of their kit branding to the charity, the fans will see the Willowbrook Hospice logo featuring on all Saints Junior Replica Shirts, aswell as on the playing kit for the away fixture vs Catalan Dragons this Saturday.

The Totally Wicked brand isn’t included on kits worn by under 18s and also cannot be displayed in France. For the 2024 season, Totally Wicked have kindly chosen to gift this sponsorship opportunity to Willowbrook, thereby increasing their visibility and support within the community.

Get your 24 Away Kit online by visiting saintssuperstore.com!

🏉 THE REST OF THE ROUND

Thursday

Leigh Leopards 12-40 Wigan Warriors

Friday

Castleford Tigers 36-24 Salford Red Devils
Hull KR 50-10 London Broncos
Leeds Rhinos 8-34 Warrington Wolves

Saturday

Hull FC vs Huddersfield Giants – 3pm

Take a look at how the Betfred Super League table looks ahead of Round 7 by clicking here.

💬 COACH PREVIEW

Paul Wellens discussed the mood in the camp following the win over Wigan but reaffirmed that his team’s focus is on keeping this good run going against a very tough side in Catalans Dragons at their own ground in the South of France.

The Head Coach revealed all the latest news surrounding his squad, including the derision to not appeal Matty Lees’ two-match penalty notice.

Wellens also paid credit once again to the brilliant number of supporters who are making the trip to cheer our team on.

Saints TV subscribers can watch the full Coach Preview with Paul Wellens!

📊 THE RECORD AGAINST CATALANS

Super League summary

Saints and Catalans have met 44 times in league action, with the Red V leading the overall head-to-head score with 25 wins to the Dragons 19. 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

Catalans Dragons 12, St Helens 6 (SLSF, 6/10/23)
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)

🇫🇷 BACK TO FRANCE FOR WHITLEY

Lifelong Saints fan and former Catalans Dragon player Matt Whitley returns to the Stade Gilbert Brutus for the first time since signing with the Saints, the club he loves.

Fresh off his first Good Friday Derby and getting the win over the Warriors, Matt is excited to going back to France and seeing some of his old friends – but insisted that come the starting whistle it goes out the window as we look for the victory.

Watch the full player preview with Matt on Saints TV!

🗣️ WHO WILL BE THE MATCH OFFICIALS? 

Liam Moore will be the referee for Saturday night’s fixture, and he will be supported by Touch Judges Rich Thompson & Geoff Poumes and as with all Super League fixtures in 2024 there will also be the Video Referee James Vella based at Rugby League’s remote refereeing base.

🐉 A LOOK AT THE DRAGONS

The Dragons have been consistent contenders under Steve McNamara with their first League Leaders’ Shield and Grand Final appearance in 2021, they fought to the end in 2023 and will be wanting to go one better in 2024.

Steve McNamara, the Head Coach of Catalans Dragons

There has been a fair amount of change at Les Dracs, headlined by Sam Tomkins and Mitchell Pearce retiring as two key members of their spine, Tomkins especially given how pivotal he has been to Catalans since joining. Matt Whitley, as we know, has also left to join another Super League clubs alongside Tyrone May, Adam Keighran, and Mickael Goudemand.

A lot of talent to be replaced but Bernard Guasch and McNamara have done as they have typically done in recent years, recruited strongly. Former Saint Theo Fages, bulldozing prop Chris Satae, plus three NRL talents in Jayden Nikorima, Tariq Sims and Bayley Sironen (our #16’s little brother) make Catalans squad look very strong. Add in the late loan addition of Jordan Abdull with a point to prove, things are looking good for the French side.

Jayden Nikorima & Theo Fages are two new halves for the Dragons in 2024

Heading into this week’s match, the Dragons are in a rich vein of form with a four-match winning streak. Firstly a solid home win over a spirited Hull FC side 26-12 before putting Castleford to the sword 40-14 also at home. In the Challenge Cup the Perpignan team pulled Halifax Panthers away and won easily 4-40 at The Shay, then just last week in a thrilling encounter against Warrington Wolves McNamara’s troops were victorious 24-32 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Catalans Dragons prop Chris Satae and hooker Micky McIlorum in action during their win over Warrington Wolves last time out.

THREE TO WATCH

  • Tom Johnstone – the star winger has been on fire since moving to the South of France, with an incredible scoring return for the Dragons he always looks lively and can finish if you give just a tiny gap too on the edge
  • Theo Fages – Saints fans don’t need reminding how good of a half the Frenchman is, with a renewed energy following his move back to his homeland he appears to be back to his best, a strong kicking and running game he’ll be a key man in attack
  • Benjamin Garcia – the captain of Catalans, his workman like efforts are outstanding and lay the groundwork for his outside backs to add the flair and finish too, a leader as well who commands the best for the Dragons

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