Super League: Catalan Dragons v Widnes Vikings preview
Last Updated: 12/04/14 11:57am
Eddie Hemmings, John Kear and Paul Cullen preview Catalan v Widnes
Widnes Vikings have the chance to underline their status as Super League play-off contenders by claiming a first win over Catalan Dragons on Saturday afternoon.
Denis Betts' men were humiliated 76-6 on their inaugural visit to Perpignan two years ago but halted a three-match losing run at the hands of the Dragons when they drew 32-32 at the Halton Stadium last June, and they travelled to the south of France with confidence having won five of their first six matches of the season.
The Vikings also pushed the Catalans to the wire in a pre-season friendly at Stade Gilbert Brutus but Betts is wary of a side that appears to have turned the corner after beginning the season with five straight losses.
"It's a really tough place to come," Betts said. "They are starting to find their form.
"They played particularly well at home to Huddersfield and they played well against Wigan at Wigan.
"But we're full of confidence at the moment. We've just got to keep our consistency high and the scoreboard will take care of itself.
"When you come to France you have to play well for the 80 minutes. That's what we need to achieve and, if we can do that,, we know we're doing the right thing."
Betts is forced to change his half-back pairing for the fourth time in eight matches after Tom Gilmore joined Joe Mellor on the sidelines with a knee injury sustained in the Vikings' Challenge Cup win at Halifax.
Fortunately for Betts, Danny Craven is fit to resume his partnership with Kevin Brown after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Rhys Hanbury - one of only two overseas players in the squad - returns at full-back.
Betts is forced to switch 21-year-old Declan Hulme to centre for only his second Super League start in the absence of experienced duo Cameron Phelps and Stefan Marsh.
Rhodri Lloyd, who filled in at centre against Halifax, could be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury in that match.
"It's not looking good for Rhodri," Betts said. "He's gone to see a specialist and we're waiting for the report. He may need a micro fracture which could be the end of the season for him.
"Our outside backline is beaten up but it creates a chance for Declan Hulme. He's part-time because he's still at university but he's a young kid we have high hopes for."
The Dragons are without former Warrington second rower Louis Anderson, who was injured in their Challenge Cup win over London, but recall back-row forwards Greg Mounis and Elliott Whitehead after they were rested last week.
Catalan Dragons squad: Escare, Pryce, Pomeroy, Oldfield, Bosc, Elima, Lima, Taia, Mounis, Pelissier, Whitehead, Millard, Simon, Bousquet, Paea, Baitieri, Duport, Cardace, Garcia
Widnes squad: Allen, Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Clough, Craven, Dean, Flynn, Gore, Hanbury, Hulme, Johnson, Joseph, Kavanagh, Leuluai, O'Carroll, Owens, Tickle, White
First Utility Super League
Thu 26th Mar
Salford Red Devils36 - 8Widnes Vikings
Fri 27th Mar
Castleford Tigers20 - 14Hull FC
Hull K R24 - 22St Helens
Warrington Wolves10 - 29Huddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors52 - 10Wakefield Wildcats
Sat 28th Mar
Catalans Dragons22 - 38Leeds Rhinos
Thu 2nd Apr
Hull FCvsHull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Fri 3rd Apr
Castleford TigersvsLeeds Rhinos
Wigan WarriorsvsSt Helens
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Mon 6th Apr
Warrington WolvesvsCastleford Tigers
Hull K R0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Wigan Warriors
St Helens0 - 0Hull FC
Catalans DragonsvsWidnes Vikings
Fri 10th Apr
Hull FCvsWidnes Vikings
Sat 11th Apr
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Castleford TigersvsHull K R
Sun 12th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0St Helens
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Apr
Wigan WarriorsvsWarrington Wolves
Fri 17th Apr
St HelensvsLeeds Rhinos
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield WildcatsvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds RhinosvsWarrington Wolves
St Helens0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans DragonsvsHull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Super League 2014, round eight
Tony Rea praises the uber-experienced Paul Wellens and Jamie Peacock in his Super League review.
Catalan Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous hailed the performance of Elliott Whitehead in the 42-20 win over Widnes.
Elliott Whitehead helped himself to a hat-trick of tries as Catalan Dragons eased past Widnes 42-20 in Perpignan.
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- Brown applauds Wellens effect
- Sandercock - Very pleasing
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- Lynch relishes Saints test
- Radford praise for forwards
- Giants see Black and White
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- Pivotal game for Hull, Giants
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