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Two teams at the wrong end of the table clashed in Perpignan as the Catalans Dragons took on bottom side, the Leeds Rhinos, with both outfits desperate for the two points. A home win would see the Dragons up to fifth but if the Rhinos should get the two points then they’d be up to tenth, at least until tomorrow.

The Catalans Dragons had no Sam Moa or Greg Bird with Julian Bousquet and Michael Goudemand called into the starting thirteen. The Rhinos were without Lolohea, who had not made the trip, but did have skipper Kallum Watkins and old head Jamie Jones-Buchanan back in their side.

Conditions in the south of France were perfect for an open game of rugby, and a decent crowd was inside the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

It was a dream start for the Rhinos when a fantastic Jack Walker break got Leeds to within striking distance before Richie Myler put in a miss-out pass to Konrad Hurrell who then found Ash Handley in space for the flying winger to score in the corner, walking over on a big overlap. Liam Sutcliffe managed to sneak his conversion inside the far upright for a 6-0 lead.

Leeds were forced to drop out under their own sticks, twice, around the eleven minutes mark. Leeds then conceeded a penalty on their own line but a poor Dragons pass went into the hands of Handley who went ninety-five metres for Leeds second. Sutcliffe added the conversion for 12-0, leaving Dave Furner wondering where such a defence has been for the last four matches.

The Dragons maintained their almost constant pressure on the Leeds line, and on nineteen Fouad Yaha scooted from acting half back to go through the Leeds defence to score. Sam Tomkins  added the conversion to get the home side back within six points.

Konrad Hurrell scored the Rhinos third, again down the left side, after a decent period of possession and position. The big centre took a Walker pass to go over. Sutcliffe was unable to add a difficult conversion, the Rhinos 16-6 ahead.

Yaha got his second on thirty-two after fast hands down the left side saw the Dragons winger with space to leap over the line and ground one-handed in the corner. Tomkins was unable to add a touchline conversion, Leeds still six points ahead. It was end to end stuff played out by two poor sides.

Brett Ferres was sin-binned for using his knees in the tackle in thirty-four and could probably couny himself lucky that the card was yellow. From the resulting penalty Lucas Albert went from acting half back and stretched for the line to score. Tomkins added the goal to square the match at 16-16 with four minutes until the break.

Richie Myler had an awful attempt at a drop goal in the closing seconds but the two teams went into the sheds all square after a first half which was a sub-standard contest, between two bottom of the table sides, with fragile defences and little flair in attack.

On forty-eight Handley got a second walk-in try to complete his hat-trick as he took a Richie Myler pass, stepped out of a lunging tackle, and went over in the corner. Sutcliffe was unable to add the conversion, the Rhinos regaining a narrow four point lead.

On fifty-nine the sides were back level again when Yaha completed his hat-trick taking a Brayden Wiliame pass to go down the left wing and again ground in the corner. Tomkins converted brilliantly from the touchline for a 22-20 lead with a quarter of the match remaining.

Two minutes later the Dragons had a try turned down by the video referee for an offside.

A Remi Casty interference at the play the ball gifted the Rhinos a two point Sutcliffe penalty on sixty-seven and again the sides were tied up. Into the last ten minutes there was nothing to choose between the two sides.

Eight minutes from time Yaha made it over for his fourth of the night as he again found a big overlap to go twenty metres untouched by a Rhinos tackler to score in the corner. Tomkins  drilled his conversion wide of the near upright but at 26-22 the Dragons smanaged to hold on until the final hooter for a crucial win which lifts them into the top half of the table.

It was a game where the excitement overshadowed the skills on show. Two bottom of the table sides played out a bottom of the table game and it was the home side who emerged as victors over a tired looking Rhinos side. The Dragons will take more from this than the Rhinos who will go back to Headingley on the verge of an all out panic.

Dragons: Tomkins (3G), Yaha (4T), Langi, Wiliame, Tierney, Gigot, Smith, Casty, Albert (T), Bousquet, Edwards, Whitley, Goudemand.  Subs: Da Costa, Maria, Kasiano, Baitieri.

Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell (T), Handley (3T), Sutcliffe (3G), Myler, Peteru, Dwyer, Oledzki, Ferres (SB on 34), Smith, Merrin.   Subs: Jones-Buchanan, Parcell, Singleton, Holroyd.

Referee: Rob Hicks.

Half-Time: 16-16.

Full-Time: 26-22.

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 23rd Mar 2019 7:00 PM | Views : 1293 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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