MATCH PREVIEW | Catalans Dragons vs Warrington Wolves

Catalans look to stay firmly in the hunt for the play-offs as they welcome Cup finalists Warrington to the Stade Gilbert Brutus. Here’s everything you need to know about today’s match.

 

TEAM FORM GUIDE

Catalans Dragons

The Dragons come into this match off a 40-14 loss away at Salford. They currently sit in sixth, six points behind their opponents and with a 13 win and 11 losses record. They did lose to the Wolves back in June, with the Wire coming out 34-4 victors.

Warrington Wolves

The Wire come into this match off the back of a brutal Challenge Cup semi-final last weekend when they beat the 2016 and 2017 Cup winners Hull FC 22-14 . They currently sit second in the league with 15 wins and nine losses so far, including a 23-22 loss against this week’s opponents back in March. If the Wire lose, St Helens will be crowned League Leaders; however if they win, they keep their own leaders’ hopes alive and also move eight points clear of the Dragons.

 

SQUAD NEWS

Catalans Dragons

Steve McNamara has made three changes to his side from two weeks ago when the French side lost to Salford 40-14.

Greg Bird, Samisoni Langi and Kenny Edwards are back in the squad, replacing Matty Smith, Benjamin Jullien and Lucas Albert.

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Catalans’ 19-man squad: Bird, Bousquet, Casty, Da Costa, Edwards, Garcia, Gigot, Goudemand, Kasiano, Langi, Maria, Mead, Mcilorum, Romano, Simon, Tomkins, Wiliame, Whitley, Yaha

Warrington Wolves

Steve Price has made two changes to his pre-match squad with Stefan Ratchford officially rejoining the 19 and Sitaleki Akauola returning after a two-match ban.  They replace Josh Charnley, who is out with an ankle injury, and Lama Tasi.

Warrington 19-man squad: Akauola, Austin, Burrell, D.Clark, J.Clark, Cooper, Currie, Davis, Goodwin, Hill, Hughes, King, Lineham, Livett, Mamo, Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin Ratchford.

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Last time these two met was in mid-June when the Wire ran out comfortable 34-4 winners at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with Wolves youngster Josh Thewlis shining on debut. However, in the last five meetings between these two sides, they have a equal record of 2-2-1.

The Dragons have won close games including the Challenge Cup win 20-14 last year. Back in March when these two met in France, a late Sam Tomkins penalty was the difference between these two.

 

KEY BATTLE

Tony Gigot  (Catalans Dragons) v Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves)

The key battle to watch in this one is between the fullbacks. In Catalans corner is Tony Gigot. The French international has been a key asset for the Perpignan natives. After being the first Frenchman to win the Lance Todd Trophy in his side’s Cup win, he is a real threat in attack and a key player in defence.  He has scored seven tries and five drop goals so far this season and has made an average gain of nearly seven metres a carry. He is always looking to marshall the troops and could be the difference between these two sides.

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For the Wire is Stefan Ratchford after he made a surprise return last week from a pectoral injury that had him out for nine weeks. The England international had been in impressive form before his injury and showed little fatigue following the injury, allowing marquee signing Blake Austin the freedom to run. Having scored four tries so far which is three less than his opposite number, he has an average gain of just over seven and a half. He has the all-round package in both attack and defence and is lethal from anywhere. Could he be the key for victory for the Wire?

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THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date:  3rd August 2019
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
Kick-off: 17:00 (18:00 CET)
Referee: James Child

 

WHO WILL WIN?

I feel that the Wire will win and keep their slim hopes of finishing first alive. However, I feel it will be similar to the game back in March, with both teams having everything to play for. Wolves by one.

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