Challenge Cup winners Catalans face Super League leaders St Helens. Here’s everything you need to know…
Catalans coach Steve McNamara rested a number of players in the 36-4 defeat at Castleford Tigers last weekend.
There are three changes to the squad for this fixture, with Mickael Simon, Jason Baitieri and Michael McIlorum all returning to the forward pack and Benjamin Garcia, Thibaut Margalet and Lambert Belmas dropping out.
Lance Todd Trophy winner Tony Gigot didn’t make the 17 last week but is still in the squad, having not made an appearance in Super League since July.
Catalans 19-man squad: Mead, Williame, Langi, Casty, Moa, Bird, Bousquet, Simon, Duport, Baitieri, McILorum, Tierney, Jullien, Albert, Da Costa, Gigot, Goudemand, Drinkwater and Edwards.
Justin Holbrook makes just a single change from last week’s 30-10 defeat at home to fierce rivals Wigan Warriors.
Aaron Smith comes into the squad in place of Ryan Morgan, and the young hooker will be looking for his Super League debut for Saints.
St Helens 19-man squad: Lomax, Makinson, Percival, Fages, Roby, Amor, Zaia, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles, Thompson, Richardson, Grace, Lees, Ashworth, Barba, Smith and Costello.
HEAD TO HEAD
St Helens will be looking for revenge after Catalans’ stunning 35-16 win in the Challenge Cup semi-final last month.
Despite that result it’s Justin Holbrook’s side that have come out on top in both Super League meetings between the sides this season, with a 21-12 win in the south of France back in February, and a 26-12 victory in the reverse.
KEY BATTLE – Tony Gigot v Ben Barba
After winning the Lance Todd Trophy at Wembley in the Challenge Cup final, Gigot will be feeling on top of the world at the moment. He is playing probably the rugby of his life, and will be vital to his side’s chances if he is brought back into the team this week.
Opposite him will be Saints full-back, Ben Barba, who has come under heavy criticism in the last couple of months having failed to replicate his stunning start to the season.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 8th September
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
Kick-off: 5:30pm (UK time)
Referee: Liam Moore