Posted: Friday 29th April 2022
Cas suffer Catalans defeat
Our match report as the Fords' three-match winning streak comes to an end at Catalans.
Castleford Tigers’ three-game winning streak came to an end with a 44-12 defeat at the hands of Catalans Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus on Friday night.
Head Coach Lee Radford picked an unchanged line up and bench from the Tigers’ last outing the previous week when they defeated St Helens at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The contest kicked off in perfect sunny conditions in the south of France and it was the Dragons who were awarded the first penalty of the game for Cas interfering with Arthur Morgue’s playing of the ball. Michael McIlorum went closest with a scoot for the line but was stopped short by the covering challenge of Liam Watts and the opportunity passed Catalans by when Tyrone May spilt forward after a pass ten metres out.
Just a few minutes later it was Cas’ turn to attack the opposition line after an illegal ball rip was called in favour of the visitors which got them up the field. The set ended with Morgue catching a high boot from Gareth O’Brien, but the full back was forced back over the line by a fantastic Tigers chase. Although the away side couldn’t capitalise from the drop out as this time O’Brien’s kick was too long and was caught on the full behind the line by winger Fouad Yaha.
After some strong defensive line speed from the Dragons which forced the Fords into kicking from inside their own 20 and a six again call put Catalans in prime position to put the pressure on again. The home team went through the forwards, and it was prop Julian Bousquet who bulldozed his way over the line and grounded the ball to clinch the opening try of the night. Morgue was on kicking duties for Catalans and the Frenchman had the easy task of slotting the conversion from in front of the posts to make it 6-0.
Catalans continued to dominate possession but found the Castleford defence harder to breach on a couple of occasions, however, their continued presence in Tigers territory paid off on the 18th minute. A quick step from Tyrone May opened up the space for the #20 to burst through a gap and then passed inside to his fellow halfback and Aussie Mitchell Pearce to run in unopposed. Morgue slotted the extra two points for the hosts to take a 12-0 advantage.
The Dragons’ attack was finding its flow and it was helped further when a knock on from James Clare under 10 metres from the Tigers’ line gifted them a scoring opportunity. On this occasion May took it on himself to make a dig for the line from close range and the former NRL star held off tackles from Clare and Jake Mamo to smuggle the ball over. Morgue lined up the conversion but sliced it slightly wide.
Just before the half hour mark the Fords responded after an offside call against Catalans got the visitors further up the field. Scrum half O’Brien provided an electric step and raced towards the try line from 20 metres out and the Cas man wasn’t to be denied as he stretched out to dot the ball down. O’Brien then composed himself and stepped up to take the kick and made no mistake to push the Tigers within 10 points of the lead.
With eight minutes of the opening 40 remaining, it looked like the Tigers were keeping the Dragons at arm’s length as they made them kick from inside their own half on the final tackle but a knock on from Clare opened the door for a Catalans attack. Yaha was stopped a metre or so short by a fantastic scrambling tackle by Derrell Olpherts but after a six again the Fords couldn’t stop Mathieu Laguerre from barrelling across the line. Morgue was successful with his conversion from the left-hand side for the scoreboard at the end of the first half to read 22-6.
O’Brien got the second half underway, and the French side began the second 40 like they finished the first as they made the most of a six again call as a break forward from Ben Garcia was followed up by Morgue skidding over from close in after a well-timed pass from May. Morgue then followed up his try with an accurate kick to put his side in control in the opening stages of the second half.
Cas looked to reply to that early try and a push on George Lawler at the play of the ball provided a good attacking platform. Unfortunately, the Tigers weren’t able to execute with youngster Jason Qareqare stopped a few metres short and Jake Trueman’s low kick was retrieved by the hands of Sam Kasiano.
Catalans then turned on the style and after Benjamin Jullien’s kick forced Qareqare into swatting the ball away for the Tigers to drop out, they notched their sixth score of the game. May was the architect again with a perfect delayed pass to hit second rower Matt Whitley for the #11 to touch down. Morgue kicked his conversion through the posts to take the French team into a comfortable 34-6 lead with 52 minutes on the clock.
The Fords had to kick out again when Fonua was barged backwards and from the following set a delicate chip over the top from May’s right boot bounced fortuitously into he hands of Laguerre who was in the right place at the right time to place the ball down. Morgue’s conversion was hit well to give Catalans a 34-point gap.
Castleford got their second of the game after May’s pass to the right was picked off by Fonua and the centre sprinted forward and found Qareqare who was too quick for Davies as he coasted home under the posts. The young star’s second try in as many games. O’Brien added the points from the kick.
The Dragons did land the final blow of the tie with three minutes to go, and it was Laguerre who bagged his hat-trick after collecting a Pearce kick on this occasion to wrap up the contest for the game to end in a 44-12 defeat for the Tigers.
Full-time: Catalans Dragons 44–12 Castleford Tigers
Catalans: Mourgue, Davies, Romano, Laguerre, Yaha, Pearce, May, Bousquet, McIlorum, Napa, Jullien, Whitley, Garcia
Interchanges: Seguier, Goudemand, Dezaria, Kasiano
Tries: Bousquet, Pearce, May, Laguerre x3, Morgue, Whitley
Goals: Morgue (6/8)
Castleford: Clare, Olpherts, Mamo, Fonua, Qareqare, O’Brien, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Edwards, Lawler, Westerman
Interchanges: Milner, Massey, Smith, Martin
Tries: O’Brien, Qareqare
Goals: O’Brien (2/2)