Dragons hang on for vital victory

Catalan Dragons 20
Tries: Bosc, Gigot, Mounis
Goals: Dureau 4/4

Hull FC 14
Tries: Rankin, Minichello
Goals: Sneyd 3/3
Catalan Dragons have leapfrogged Hull FC in the Super League table after a narrow 20-14 victory over the Black and Whites in Perpignan.

Thomas Bosc, Tony Gigot and Gregory Mounis all scored tries in the first half to give the hosts an 18-8 lead at the interval.

Hull FC had the better of the second half but couldn’t bridge the gap as they slip to 8th in the table.

Jordan Rankin put FC in front on 11 minutes after Danny Houghton’s short pass found Joe Westerman, who held off the challenge of Morgan Escare and offloaded to the onrushing Rankin, who touched down for his fourth Super League try of the season.

The lead only lasted four minutes, though, as Bosc supported a Remi Casty break and received an offload from the prop to go over under the posts.

Both sides struggled to take charge of the game as the error and penalty counts began to rise; Fouad Yaha dropped a Dureau pass on the wing with space ahead of him to run into for Catalan while the visitors applied pressure to the Dragons line but couldn’t find a way through their tough defence.

Marc Sneyd opted to kick for goal when Hull were awarded a penalty after Dureau was adjudged to have stripped the ball from the former Salford and Castleford man.

Tony Gigot has been enjoying his return to the Gilbert Brutus these past few weeks and he scored his fifth try in four Super League games when he cut out Sneyd’s pass to go half the length of the field and score.

The Dragons piled on the pressure and moments after Gigot’s try Benjamin Garcia came off the bench and was held up just short before Kirk Yeaman conceded a penalty for a ball steal on Elliott Whitehead.

Seconds before the half-time hooter Catalan co-captain Mounis grabbed his first try of the season. The 30 year-old took a pass from Louis Anderson for an easy finish.

Dureau’s third successful kick gave the French side a 10-point half time lead and they should have extended the advantage early in the second half.

In a role reversal of their third try, Mounis this time ran at the line before popping the ball up for Anderson, but the big forward spilled it with the try line beckoning.

FC made their hosts pay for their wastefulness on 51 minutes, when Mark Minichello powered his way past a total of five would-be tacklers to bring his side right back into the game. Sneyd’s goal reduced the deficit to just four points.

From then on the Black and Whites seemed to have the upper hand. Setaimata Sa almost scored against his old club, but Fouad Yaha did excellently to deny the 27 year-old a fourth league try of the season – although referee Ben Thaler ruled that Sa was offside from Sneyd’s kick anyway.

With 16 minutes to go Liam Watts dropped a pass from Houghton close to the try line. However, the big prop appeared to have been tackled before he attempted to catch the pass.

The pressure was mounting and repeat sets on the Dragons line with only 10 minutes left ended with Fetuli Talanoa touching down in the right-hand corner, after Leon Pryce and Rankin had combined to send him over the line. Thaler sent the decision up to the video referees and it was chalked off for obstruction – Sa ran into Ben Pomeroy, preventing the Australian from making a tackle.

On a rare second half foray into Hull territory Catalan were awarded a penalty for a ball steal on Ian Henderson and Dureau opted to take the two. He was successful from 13 metres out in front of the posts and the lead was now 20-14.

There was still time for another chance for Hull, though. After Watts came up with the ball after a short kick off, the visitors put together a nice passing move on their right edge, but the final pass from Pryce eluded Talanoa and went out into touch, handing possession back to Catalan with just four minutes left.

Hull’s last chance to rescue something from the game disappeared when Jordan Thompson dropped Westerman’s poor pass and the game was up.

The win was Catalan’s sixth straight victory at the Gilbert Brutus in league and cup and moves the Dragons level on points with Huddersfield and Warrington.

Leeds Rhinos remain the only side to have won in the South of France this season.

For FC, Kirk Yeaman appeared to injure his hamstring late on and could face a spell on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Hull’s run of three successive away wins ends and they could slip out of the top 8 on Sunday if Widnes Vikings record a victory.

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