Saints v Catalans Dragons
The Saints produced a sparkling eight-try performance to win 42-12 and complete the double over the Catalans Dragons, writes Graham Henthorne.
And this was done with the squad down to the bare bones due to injuries to key personnel – although with the performances of those youngsters drafted in you would never know.
In fact the game was virtually over as early as the 10th minute as the Saints went over for their third try, taking a 14 point strangle-hold on the visitors.
The Saints took the lead after only 60 seconds with Josh Simm picking up a Catalans fumble over the line from Jack Welsby’s delightfully weighted grubber. This came after a Callum Hazzard offload had put Welsby away on a 40 metre run into the visitors half.
The visitors should have equalized on five minutes but after a break down the middle the pass went straight to the covering Tom Nisbet. A clever Jake Wingfield penalty for offside at the play the ball and three tackles later quick hands allowed Nisbet to put Simm in for his second.
The Josh Simm show continued on the next set as his 40 metre break took him to the fullback. He passed left to the supporting Kye Siyani who didn’t have the pace to go the remaining 30 metres and was caught short of the line. Two tackles later, however, and Cam Brown was dummying his way over in the right corner.
The tide turned slightly along with the penalty count and it took two Nisbet led tackles in one set to keep the Dragons scoreless.
From the handover the Saints were finding it tough going to get out of their own 30 but got another set when Welsby’s last tackle clearance kick was charged down. Three tackles later and Nisbet broke through the middle of the line. 30 metres later he stepped around the fullback, evaded the head high tackle of the covering centre and then outpaced the rest of the cover over the last 40 metres to the right corner for a great individual try.
The Saints kept the point a minute tally up by scoring their fifth try without reply. Strong drives out of defence from the returning John Hutchings and hardworking debutant Brandon Scully put the Saints on the front foot. Another break from Captain Hazzard to the beleaguered fullback saw him put Welsby in by the sticks.
The visitors gave themselves a glimmer of hope on the half hour as the tall second row took advantage of some lethargic tackling and two penalties on the bounce to reach over.
The call at oranges was to eradicate last week’s poor restart and to turn the screw and that’s what happened as from the kick off great kick chase work from Siyani, Hutchings, Joe Sharratt and Ryan Horne saw the Dragons winger pushed back into his own in-goal for a Saints repeat set.
The perfect start of a Sharratt try from Horne’s grubber was ruled out for a dubious offside, but the Saints were in from their next set.
Drives from Sam Royle and Chris Kellett and a Paul Nash/Royle offload to each other saw Nash dummy his way under the posts.
The Saints were making the game look easy with their defensive line speed and power running epitomised in the run up to the seventh try.
Two drives from Jorge Lewtas, promoted to the starting line-up, and his bench replacement Kian Horridge saw the Saints in the Dragons red zone. On the last the ball was moved right to Horne who, on seeing his kick options ruled out by a poor pass, stepped back inside off his right foot no less than five times before primly dotting the ball down under the posts.
Unfortunately as the game went into the final quarter injuries, both old and new started to take their toll on the Saints allowing the visitors to score twice.
Sandwiched in between Sam Royle had a try disallowed for a double movement which could easily have been ruled as a trip on the loose forward as he went for the line.
The last laugh was reserved for Sharratt as he twisted his way over after a repeat set had the Dragons under pressure.
Looking purely at the scoreboard this was a good win. Considering the meagre and inexperienced resources available to the Saints, this was a fantastic win.
Kian Horridge in only his third game off the bench and the encouraging debut of Brandon Scully showed the type of gutsy performances shown by the players. Lewtas and Royle did big minutes and Kye Siyani pushed through cramp to play the full 80 but vying with each other for the best on park were Callum Hazzard and Jack Welsby.
Tries: Josh Simm (1 & 6), Cameron Brown (10), Tom Nisbett (22), Jack Welsby (24), Paul Nash (46), Ryan Horne (51), Joe Sharratt (77).
Goals: Callum Hazzard 3 from 6, Josh Simm 1 from 1, Jack Welsby 1 from 1.
Tries: Corentin Le Cam (28 & 64), Robin Brochon (70).
Goals: Arthur Mourgue 0 from 3.
Half Time: 24-4
Full Time: 42-12
1. Tom Nisbet; 5. John Hutchings, 3. Cameron Brown, 4. Josh Simm, 2. Sean Croston; 6. Jack Welsby, 7. Ryan Horne; 8. Jorge Lewtas, 9. Jake Wingfield, 10. Callum Hazzard, 11. Joe Sharratt, 12. Kye Siyani, 13. Sam Royle.
Subs: 14. Paul Nash, 15. Brandon Scully, 16. Kian Horridge, 17. Christian Kellett.
1. Robin Brochon; 2. Guillame Gorka, 3. Louis Carre, 4. Matthieu Laguerre, 5. Ugo Martin; 6. Thomas Lacans, 7. Arthur Mourgue (C); 8. Barthelemy Rouge, 9. Thibault Osuna, 16. Tiaki Chan, 11. Luc Delor, 12. Corentin Le Cam, 13. Lucas Vergniol.
Subs: 10. Florian Vailhen, 14. David de Macedo, 15. Valentin Zafra, 17. Mathieu Cozza.