Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
Kick Off: 17:00 (BST)
Referee: Ben Thaler
Catalan Dragons: 1 Morgan Escaré, 3 Ben Pomeroy, 7 Scott Dureau, 8 Olivier Elima, 9 Ian Henderson, 10 Rémi Casty, 11 Zeb Taia, 12 Louis Anderson, 13 Greg Mounis, 14 Thomas Bosc, 16 Eloi Pelissier, 17 Elliott Whitehead, 18 Ben Garcia, 20 Damien Cardace, 21 Julian Bousquet, 23 Antoni Maria, 24 Jason Baitieri, 27 Fouad Yaha, 28 Tony Gigot
Hull FC: 27 Jordan Abdull, 11 Gareth Ellis, 15 Chris Green, 9 Danny Houghton, 19 Steve Michaels, 12 Mark Minichiello, 8 Mickey Paea, 14 Iafeta Paleaaesina, 6 Leon Pryce, 32 Jordan Rankin, 3 Setaimata Sa, 1 Jamie Shaul, 7 Marc Sneyd, 5 Fetuli Talanoa, 16 Jordan Thompson, 10 Liam Watts, 13 Joe Westerman, 21 Richard Whiting, 4 Kirk Yeaman
Last Ten Meetings:
Hull FC 33-22 Catalan (SLR6 20/3/15)
Catalan 20-16 Hull FC (SLR17 21/6/14)
Hull FC 36-34 Catalan (SLR1 14/2/14)
Hull FC 14-6 Catalan (SLPOSFE 13/9/13)
Catalan 13-24 Hull FC (CCQF 13/7/13)
Catalan 30-4 Hull FC (SLR18 8/6/13)
Hull FC 28-8 Catalan (SLR11 7/4/13)
Hull FC 30-10 Catalan (SLR24 12/8/12)
Catalan 44-14 Hull FC (SLR2 14/7/12)
Hull FC 40-8 Catalan (SLR24 12/8/11)
Catalan Dragons host Hull FC on Saturday with the two sides level on 16 points on the Super League table.
The Dragons were beaten at Warrington last week – their first defeat since May 3rd, while the Black and Whites have been in good form themselves lately, losing just one of their last six matches in league and cup.
Damien Cardace, Thomas Bosc and Penrith-bound Benjamin Garcia all return to the Catalan squad, but Michael Oldfield misses out after picking up an injury in last weeks defeat at the Halliwell Jones.
Jeff Lima sits out the fourth and final game of his suspension, while Todd Carney and Willie Tonga join Vincent Duport in the Dragons’ medical room.
Hull FC are boosted by the return of Setaimata Sa who made 69 appearances for the Dragons in a three-year spell in Perpignan.
Fetuli Talanoa and Jordan Rankin are also back in Lee Radford’s 19-man squad, after missing last week’s win at Widnes.
It was announced earlier this week that Tom Lineham will join Warrington next season, but the winger won’t make the trip to France on ‘personal grounds.’
Airlie Birds’ head coach Lee Radford told the Hull Daily Mail that the battle between the two sets of back-rowers will be crucial in deciding the destination of the two points: “The back-row match-up is key. Zeb Taia is arguably one of the best players in the competition and they have a fantastic back-row.”
“Killing the ball on him after contact is crucial and he hits some fantastic lines too, but if there is one bloke I would like to put up against him from our squad it is our leader and captain in Gareth Ellis.
“I hope we come out on top in that department because if we do it will play a big part in the result.
“With Elliott Whitehead and Mark Minichiello matched up on the other side, it is a fascinating battle for rugby fans to watch and a match-up I am really looking forward to.”
Referee Ben Thaler will be the man in the middle on Saturday. Dragons head coach Laurent Frayssinous was given a £500 fine earlier this week for criticising the same official’s performance in Catalan’s 22-all draw with Huddersfield at Magic Weekend.
Home advantage is often key when these sides meet – 11 of the last 12 games between them have been won by the home side.
The Airlie Birds have the upper hand on the Dragons in terms of Super League victories, winning 15 of the pair’s 24 meetings. However, their last win at Gilbert Brutus in the league came way back in May 2010.
Dragons’ full-back Morgan Escare has scored a try in each of his last six games against the Humberside club.
Prediction: Dragons by 10 – Todd Carney will be a huge miss for Catalan but Thomas Bosc and Scott Dureau are more than capable of directing their team around the field. Lee Radford may well be right about the clash of the back-rowers and in my opinion Elliott Whitehead and Zeb Taia are the best in the league right now. The home side usually win when these sides meet and the Dragons are formidible at the Gilbert Brutus – only Leeds have beaten them there this season and that was back in March.