Widnes Vikings travel to the Stade Gilbert Brutus to take on a Catalans Dragons side in fine form. Can the Vikings extend their unbeaten run in the South of France and get a vital two points in Francis Cummins’ first game in charge? Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash.
Steve McNamara has made just one change to the Dragons side, following last week’s Challenge Cup quarter-final triumph over the Huddersfield Giants. Jodie Broughton is ruled out through injury and is replaced by Fouad Yaha.
Catalans Dragons 19-man squad: David Mead, Brayden Williame, Fouad Yaha, Samisoni Langi, Rémi Casty, Sam Moa, Louis Anderson, Benjamin Garcia, Greg Bird, Julian Bousquet, Mika Simon, Michael McIlorum, Lewis Tierney, Benjamin Jullien, Antoni Maria, Tony Gigot, Mickael Goudemand, Josh Drinkwater, Kenny Edwards
Widnes Interim Head Coach Francis Cummins makes five changes to the side that lost to Wakefield Trinity two weeks ago.
Weller Hauraki is set to make his debut, having been brought straight into the 19-man squad following his midweek arrival from the Salford Red Devils. Rhys Hanbury also comes back into the mix after his recent injury, while there are also returns for Ted Chapelhow, Brad Walker and Ryan Ince.
Wellington Albert and Danny Walker both make way alongside the injured Hep Cahill. Ed Chamberlain and Greg Burke are the other two to drop out, after their moves to Salford were also confirmed this week.
Widnes Vikings 19-man squad: Patrick Ah Van, Jay Chapelhow, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Owen Farnworth, Tom Gilmore, Rhys Hanbury, Weller Hauraki, Aaron Heremaia, Ryan Ince, Jordan Johnstone MacGraff Leuluai, Stefan Marsh, Joe Mellor, Tom Olbison, Charly Runciman, Brad Walker, Matt Whitley, Sam Wilde
HEAD TO HEAD
The Vikings are unbeaten against the Dragons in their last four meetings, having last lost against the French side in August 2016.
In their most recent meeting in Perpignan, Widnes secured their Super League safety with a narrow 12-10-win, courtesy of tries from Corey Thompson and Stefan Marsh. The Vikings also recorded a convincing 40-12 win over the Dragons back on the opening weekend of the 2018 season.
KEY BATTLE- Tony Gigot vs Rhys Hanbury
The clash between the two full-backs promises to be an intriguing one, with both men eager to put together a string of good performances.
Gigot has only recently returned from a drug ban and his return to the Dragons side has coincided with their upturn in form, the French side having won six of their last seven outings and booking their place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals.
In contrast, Hanbury is set to return from an injury sustained at the Magic Weekend against St Helens. He hasn’t had the greatest season of his career, but he may be hoping that a change of manager may spark a return to the full-back of old.
Both these men are very capable full-backs who are in need of a good string of performances. If they can both bring the best out of one-another, we could be set for a very intriguing matchup.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday June 9
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
WHO WILL WIN?