Catalans welcome Castleford to the South of France as they look to continue their rise into the top eight of Super League. Here’s everything you need to know:
Steve McNamara has made two changes to his side following their win against Leeds last week. Jodie Broughton and Sam Moa both miss out due to an injury and suspension respectively, and are replaced by Mickael Goudemand and David Mead.
With Leeds losing seven consecutive games, Catalans have been able to fight back into the top 8 race, and after the Rhinos’ defeat against Wigan a win for the French outfit on Saturday could see them leapfrog the current champions into 7th.
Catalan Dragons 19-man squad: Mead, Wiliame, Yaha, Langi, Casty, Anderson, Garcia, Bird, Bousquet, Simon, Duport, Baitieri, McIlorum, Tierney, Jullien, Gigot, Goudemand, Drinkwater, Edwards.
Darryl Powell has made four changes to the team that claimed a narrow victory against Wigan last week. Jy Hitchcox, James Green, Will Maher and Joe Wardle have been replaced by Liam Watts, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Oliver Holmes and Adam Milner.
Castleford are four games unbeaten (three wins and one draw), and are looking to move back ahead of Warrington into third place.
Castleford Tigers 19-man squad: Clare, Clark, Cook, Egodo, Ellis, Gill, Holmes, Laulu-Togaga’e, Massey, McShane, Millington, Milner, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Trueman, Watts, Webster.
HEAD TO HEAD
This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams, with Castleford coming out 41-0 winners in the reverse fixture back in April. Paul McShane and Oliver Holmes both scored twice as the Tigers ran in seven tries in a convincing win at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
However, that meeting was when Catalans were at the bottom of the table and had only won two games. Now, a rejuvenated Dragons side, who have won 4 of their last 5 league matches, will likely provide more of a test for the Tigers.
KEY BATTLE- Michael McIlorum v Paul McShane
The battle of the hooker’s could be crucial to the outcome of this game, with two of the league’s top number nines going head-to-head.
In Catalans’ corner is three-time Super League Grand Final winner Michael McIlorum. The former Wigan player has a wealth of experience and has been impressive in recent weeks as the Dragons have turned their season around. He has controlled the ruck area and has developed a strong link with Josh Drinkwater, a combination which has proved lethal at times.
In the other corner is Castleford’s Paul McShane, who has stepped up again this season in the absence of Luke Gale- leading his team in both attack and defence.
With the ability to create an opportunity out of nothing and a kicking game that some half-backs will be envious of, he has been a big reason as to why Castleford have had another strong season despite a number of injuries to key players.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: 30th June 2018
Venue: Stade Gillbert Brutus
Referee: Robert Hicks
WHO WILL WIN?