Date: Sunday 3rd May 2015
Venue: Mend-A-Hose Jungle
Castleford 19 man squad: Ryan Bailey, Ryan Boyle, Michael Channing, Liam Finn, Luke Gale, Ash Gibson, Oliver Holmes, Andy Lynch, Will Maher, Frankie Mariano, Nathan Massey, Grant Millington, Scott Moore, Ben Roberts, Ash Robson, Michael Shenton, Denny Solomona, Jordan Tansey, Scott Wheeldon
Catalan 19 man squad: Morgan Escaré, Williw Tonga, Michael Oldfield, Scott Dureau, Olivier Elima, Ian Henderson, Rémy Casty, Zeb Taia, Louis Anderson, Thomas Bosc, Eloi Pelissier, Elliot Whitehead, Benjamin Garcia, Mathias Pala, Damien Cardace, Julian Bousquet, Gadwin Springer, Jason Baitieri, Fouad Yaha
Castleford Tigers 17 – 17 Catalan Dragons – February 2013, Round 4
Catalan Dragons 39 – 30 Castleford Tigers – May 2013, Round 15
Castleford Tigers 32 – 6 Catalan Dragons – February 2014, Round 2
Catalan Dragons 28 – 6 Castleford Tigers – September 2014 – Round 27
Catalan Dragons 13 – 12 Castleford Tigers – February 2015, Round 2
Ryan Bailey could make his official debut for a Cas side out to avenge their narrow 13-12 defeat at Catalan during round 2 of the season.
Tigers fans will also no doubt be pleased to welcome back wing-man Denny Solomona, who returns to the 19 after a lengthy absence through injury. Last week’s match-winning youngster Ash Robson looks set to continue his run in the first team after it was announced earlier in the week that James Clare will be playing for York on a duel-registration. Adam Milner drops out of the 19 after picking up a one-match ban, as do Junior Moors and Lee Jewitt.
The Dragons are missing 5 first-team faces for this match. Vincent Duport, Ben Pomeroy, Jeff Lima, Greg Mounis and Todd Carney are all missing from the 19 through injury or suspension. Better news for Catalan fans, however, is that both Morgan Escare and Scott Dureau return to the squad after missing last week at Hull KR.
The Tigers will have been pleased to have picked up an away win in their last game, narrowly beating Salford 20-22, but coach Daryl Powell will want to see significant improvement in terms of the performance. He will certainly want to see more of the same from young Ash Robson, who put in a sterling performance last weekend on debut, and Cas fans will be looking forward to the chance to seeing the young man play at home.
Laurent Frayssinous will have very much the same mind set. His side’s 32-24 home win over Hull KR last week was good, but the coach will see room for improvement. Morgan Escare is a big lift for them going into this match. He lifts the Catalan team, and is a constant nuisance to the opposition.
Both teams come into this match knowing they need the points to sustain their challenge for the top 8. The form and injury lists of the two teams both look very similar – both sides are missing key men and stuttering a little of late. Looking back over the fixtures between the Tigers and the Dragons, the home side tends to, but doesn’t always, come out on top – and I think that trend is going to continue here.
Prediction: I’m going for a scrappy Cas victory, perhaps by 8 points.