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SUPER LEAGUE MATCH PREVIEW: Catalans Dragons vs Huddersfield Giants

SQUAD NEWS

Catalans Dragons

Steve McNamara has named an unchanged squad for the visit of the Huddersfield Giants, despite their Good Friday loss to Salford at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Struggling Catalan continue to search for just their second win of the 2018 campaign and sit bottom of the table, losing 32-16 to Salford Red Devils, with stand-in fullback Niall Evalds running the show in front of the home fans.

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Their biggest loss has come against the Widnes Vikings, which ended 40-12 at the Select Security Stadium.

Catalans Dragons 19-man squad: Mead, Broughton, Wiliame, Yaha, Langi, Casty, Aiton, Moa, Garcia, Bird, Bousquet, Simon, Baitieri, Margalet, McIlorum, Tierney, Jullien, Da Costa, Gigot.

Huddersfield Giants

Second-rower Dale Ferguson returns for the Giants, who drew with champions Leeds Rhinos at the John Smith’s Stadium on Good Friday.

Sam Hewitt and Louis Senior made their first-grade debut against the Rhinos, but it’s the former’s twin brother Innes Senior that could make his debut in Perpignan.

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Utility back Colton Roche and prop Matty English also return to the squad.

Giants Interim Head Coach Chris Thorman enjoyed a share of the spoils against the reigning champions, drawing 22-22 in the first half of Easter weekend matches, with tries from Jared Simpson (2) and Adam O’Brien for the Giants, Brough converting five kicks.

They sit 10th in the Betfred Super League table with five points.

Huddersfield Giants 19-man squad: Turner, Murphy, Brough, Ikahihifo, Lawrence, Hinchcliffe, Ferguson, Rankin, Roberts, Ta’ai, Clough, Smith, O’Brien, Mellor, McIntosh, Roche, English, Simpson, Senior.

HEAD TO HEAD

Both sides head into the fixture desperate to make an impression and climb the Super League ladder.

Catalans dearly need a win, with Hull KR just two points above them in 11th. The Dragons were less-than-impressive against the Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday afternoon, being dominated around the park.

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David Mead is yet to make his mark on the side, while Luke Walsh continue to miss games through injury.

The Giants on the other hand, played impressive rugby against fifth-placed Leeds Rhinos, but their celebrations were cut short when Ash Handley crashed over with just four minutes remaining.

Jordan Rankin’s drop-goal attempt failed, and the two Yorkshire sides split the points evenly.

KEY BATTLE- Michael McILorum vs Ryan Hinchcliffe

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The experienced hookers will be expected to step-up their game in the Super League to claim the two points at every possible opportunity.

The former Wigan Warriors and Melbourne Storm players retrospectively have played 400 professional games between them in the Super League and NRL, and their coaches should be looking to them for inspiration.

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Huddersfield have failed to impress, leading to Rick Stone’s early departure at the club after just two years at the side, whilst Steve McNamara can’t be far away with just one win in eight.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: 02/04/18
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
Kick-off: 17:15 (Sky Sports)
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas

WHO WILL WIN?

Can Catalans claim a much needed point here against Chris Thorman's Huddersfield?

Rugby League writer. Owner of @RLLatest.

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