Super League match preview: Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants

Date: 18/7/15

Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus

Kick off: 17:00 (BST)

Referee: Joe Cobb

Teams:

Catalans Dragons: 1 Morgan Escaré, 3 Ben Pomeroy, 6 Todd Carney, 7 Scott Dureau, 8 Olivier Elima, 9 Ian Henderson, 10 Rémi Casty, 12 Louis Anderson, 13 Greg Mounis, 15 Jeff Lima, 16 Eloi Pelissier, 17 Elliott Whitehead, 18 Ben Garcia, 21 Julian Bousquet, 24 Jason Baitieri, 28 Tony Gigot, 29 Thibaut Margalet, 30 Krisnan Inu, 31 Jordan Sigismeau

Huddersfield Giants: 1 Scott Grix, 2 Jermaine McGillvary, 3 Leroy Cudjoe, 4 Joe Wardle, 5 Aaron Murphy, 6 Danny Brough, 7 Luke Robinson, 8 Eorl Crabtree, 10 Craig Huby, 11 Brett Ferres, 12 Jack Hughes, 14 Michael Lawrence, 15 Craig Kopczak, 16 Kyle Wood, 17 Ukuma Ta’ai, 18 Jodie Broughton, 20 Jamie Ellis, 25 Nathan Mason, 32 Daniel Smith

Last 10 Meetings

Catalans 22-22 Huddersfield (SLR16 31/5/15) (Magic Weekend)

Huddersfield 38-14 Catalans (SLR11 19/4/15)

Huddersfield 16-18 Catalans (SLPOSFQ 26/9/14)

Huddersfield 38-16 Catalans (SLR23 1/8/14)

Catalans 30-14 Huddersfield (SLR6 22/3/14)

Huddersfield 60-16 Catalans (SLR20 28/6/13)

Catalans 20-28 Huddersfield (SLR13 27/4/13)

Huddersfield 36-18 Catalans (SLR23 5/8/12)

Catalans 27-20 Huddersfield (SLR13 5/5/12)

Huddersfield 28-20 Catalans (SLR18 18/6/11)

Preview:

Catalans Dragons entertain Huddersfield Giants in Perpignan on Saturday with their place in the top 8 almost guaranteed.

The Giants, meanwhile, are embroiled in a battle with Castleford for fourth spot with just two rounds to go of the regular season.

The Dragons currently occupy 8th spot, two points ahead of Hull KR – who travel to St Helens in the final round –  and with a superior points difference over the Robins of 75.

However, Laurent Frayssinous’ men go into Saturday’s game on the back of three straight defeats in league and cup.

Their injury-list lengthened earlier this week too, with winger Fouad Yaha ruled out for up to eight weeks with a shoulder injury.

Prop Olivier Elima replaces the 18 year-old in the only change to the 19-man squad that was named for the trip to Widnes last Sunday.

The likes of Zeb Taia, Michael Oldfield, Thomas Bosc and Willie Tonga all remain sidelined through injury, but playmaker Todd Carney is again named in the provisional squad.

“Todd was pretty close last week,” Frayssinous told BT Sport. “His pec is now pretty good but he has another issue.

“This morning he was not quite right but he will have more treatment and a good night’s sleep and I’ll make a decision after watching him running in the morning.”

Despite their injury woes, Catalans have been excellent at the Gilbert Brutus this season, losing only to table-topping Leeds Rhinos, and winning eight out of 10 home Super League fixtures so far this season, including their last six.

For the Giants, new signing from Wakefield Daniel Smith is included in the travelling party, while Brett Ferres returns after serving a two-match ban. Jacob Fairbank and Jarred Simpson make way for the duo in Paul Anderson’s squad.

Centre-turned second rower Joe Wardle will make his 100th Super League appearance for Huddersfield should he feature on Saturday.

The Giants were edged out 35-34 last week away to defending champions St Helens thanks to a last gasp Luke Walsh drop goal. That defeat ended a run of four away Super League victories, as well as a draw at the Magic Weekend – against the Dragons.

In fact, the Giants have won seven and drawn two of their last 11 league matches, form that has propelled them into the top four as the regular season draws to a close.

However, despite their recent form, back rower Michael Lawrence doesn’t believe his side get the respect they deserve: “We see ourselves as a big top-four club, but that doesn’t seem the case outside Huddersfield,” he told the Huddersfield Examiner.

“To be honest, it doesn’t bother us that much, because going unnoticed does help to keep some of the pressure off us.

“But, at the same time, it would be nice to achieve a bit more credit than we actually get.”

Victory in the south of France, coupled with a defeat for Castleford would virtually guarantee a top four finish for Huddersfield, and the Ginats have a decent record against Catalans, winning 14 and drawing one of the two sides’ 24 meetings in league and cup since 2006.

However, Catalans have been victorious in three of the last four meetings in France, and have lost just three of their last 22 home Super League fixtures.

Prediction: Giants by 6 – Huddersfield were very unfortunate to lose against Saints and they have been impressive over the last few weeks. Injury-hit Catalans were poor last week and even with a half-fit Todd Carney and their impressive home form, they will still fall short against the Giants, who have the best defence in Super League and desperately need the two points.

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