Catalans Dragons play their first game at the Stade GIlbert Brutus this year against a seemingly in-form St Helens side. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash.
In contrast, the Dragons had a Sunday to forget, losing 40-12 to Widnes at the Select Security Stadium. Post-game, Head Coach Steve McNamara emphasised the need for improvement and he has made three changes to his side. Alrix Da Costa, Greg Bird and Thibaud Margalet are in line for their first appearance of the season, replacing the suspended Sam Moa and the injured Paul Aiton and Samisoni Langi.
Dragons’ 19-man squad: Mead, Broughton, Thornley, Wiliame, Walsh, Casty, Garcia, Bird, Bousquet, Simon, Duport, Baitieri, Margalet, McIlorum, Tierney, Jullien, Albert, Maria, Da Costa.
Justin Holbrook’s men topped the table after round one of the season, dismantling Castleford Tigers 40-6 last Friday night. The only change made to the side has been an enforced one, with Adam Swift replacing injured centre Ryan Morgan.
Saints’ 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Walmsley, Roby, Amor, Taia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Peyroux, Richardson, Grace, Barba.
BATTLE TO WATCH- GREG BIRD V LOUIS MCCARTHY-SCARSBROOK
It will interesting to see how these two powerful forwards perform when they come up against each other on Saturday evening. McCarthy-Scarsbrook was a stand-out performer for both the Saints and Ireland at the World Cup last year, and will be hoping to cement his spot as one of Holbrook’s most crucial squad members.
Bird meanwhile will be hoping to stamp his authority and class on proceedings, having missed their opening-week defeat to Widnes. On his day, the 33-year old is almost unplayable- he will need to be firing on all cylinders if the Dragons are to take anything from this clash.
St Helens have won their last three meetings against Catalans in all competitions, including a 28-24 victory over the French side in Perpignan last march.
Zeb Taia is set to face his former-team after leaving the Dragons at the end of the 2015 season. The New Zealand and Cook Islands international made 77 appearances during his time in the South of France.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday February 10
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
Referee: P. Bentham
WHO WILL WIN?