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Both the Catalans Dragons and Hull Kingston Rovers could finish round eight at the top of the league as they met in the south of France for arguably the tie of the round, the Dragons needing just a win to go two points clear at the top, KR needing to win by a forty-point margin to jump four places.

The bookies favoured a home win, handicapping the Dragons by six points on the coupon, but the Robins are it making up the numbers in 2024 and were looking to take the two points to lift themselves level on league points with the four sides ahead of them.

The atmosphere was electric as the two sides took to the field.

Michael McIlorum opened the scoring on seven minutes as he backed over the line under the tackle of two KR defenders, but he managed to force the point of the ball onto the line and the video official agreed with the Jack Smith and granted the try. Arthur Mourgue added the conversion, and the home side were off and running.

On eleven minutes the visitors grabbed their first try of the evening with an overlap down the right being exploited by Joe Burgess to ground in the right corner. Ben Reynolds added the touchline conversion to level the scores at 6-6. The game was already living up to the pre-match billing.

KR were embarrassed on seventeen when Theo Fages and Tom Davies ripped their defence apart to put Matt Ikuvalu free to cross. The conversion was missed, the Dragons four points ahead.

A sensational Tom Davies special extended the Dragons lead as he ran ten metres and leapt for the corner to ground one-handed under the tackle of Niall Evalds.  Mourgue was wide with the conversion, the home advantage now eight points with thirteen minutes to the interval.

On the half hour mark Desaria added to the Robins misery as he added a fourth Dragons try, stretching for the line to ground under the sticks off a McIlorum pass. Mourgue added the conversion for 20-6, the Dragons now taking control.

The Dragons were on fire as Hull KR crumbled, Theo Fages taking a Mourgue pass and breaking the line and sprinting over to score on thirty-three minutes. Mourgue was on target for the third time in the match for 26-6, the game already looking beyond the red and whites.

The second half was deadlocked until a fifty-sixth minute when Matty Storton was adjudged to be guilty of a crusher tackle and sin-binned to add to Hull KR’s woes but their defence held strong while they were a man down but with no real threat to the Dragons line the game had drifted beyond them.

Ten minutes from time Tom Johnstone got the first points of the second half as he crossed with ease against a tiring defence. Mourgue hit the post with a failed conversion.

The icing on the cake came on seventy-five when Tariq Sims charged down a KR kick, hacked the ball into the Robins goal area and then collected to dive over. Mourgue hit the mark to make the winning margin 36-6, a drubbing for the visitors.

The Dragons go top of the league, two points clear of their chasers, thanks to a sensational first half to which the visitors from Hull KR had no answer. The second half was a stalemate with the Dragons holding their opponents at bay without pulling up any trees in attack, but they didn’t need to. A good say at the office for the Dragons, a disappointment for Willie Peters men as they now look over their shoulders at the chasing pack.

Catalans Dragons: Mourgue (3G), Davies (T), Romano, Ikuvalu (T), Johnstone (T), Rougé, Fages (T), Bousquet, McIlorum (T), Navarrete, Sims (T), McMeeken, Garcia. Subs: Nikorima, Sironen, Satae, Dezaria (T). 18th Man: Seguier. 

Hull KR: Evalds, Burgess (T), Hiku, Opacic, Hall, Reynolds (G), May, Whitbread, Litten, King, Hadley, Batchelor, Minchella.  Subs: Parcell, Luckley, Storton (SB on 56), Tanginoa. 18th Man: Aydin.

Half-Time: 26-6.

Full-Time: 36-6.

Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-6, 10-6, 14-6, 18-6, 20-6, 24-6, 26-6 : HT: (SB), 30-6, 34-6, 36-6 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Catalans – Square – Catalans.

Referee: Jack Smith.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 20th Apr 2024 7:19 PM | Views : 6348 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES