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Match Report: Catalan 20 Wigan 12
Posted by Bilko on June 07 2011 - 12:49

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Catalan Dragons v Wigan Warriors - Engage Super League XVI Round 16.
Saturday 4th June
2011. Kick Off 6pm (Local) at Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Montpellier.

Match Report

Well, Montpellier is one busy city let me tell you. Apart from Catalan v Wigan, the city was also hosting a festival of extreme sports, a Gay Pride march and a homecoming for the Montpellier Rugby Union team who had reached their first ever French Rugby Union Grand Final.

Sadly the latter of those three events was held on the same night as Catalan v Wigan which, from a local point of view, rendered the decision by Catalan to move the game to Montpellier pretty pointless. I mean the locals just weren't interested in anything but their team being in the Rugby Union Final. It was unbelievably bad luck for Catalan because the Union team had reached the Grand Final very unexpectedly from sixth place in the table after going away and winning twice by just 1 point. It made the event of the match itself a bit of a damp squib. They would have hoped for a far bigger crowd than the 9,372 that turned out.

From a Wigan fan point of view, Montpellier was massively different from Perpignan. Back there, everyone is close together because it is a small city but in Montpellier its a huge place so everyone is stretched out. Having said that I thought the tram service was excellent, costing just 3.75 euros for a day ticket, so that did make it easy to get around. We kind of latched onto an Irish Bar called Fitzpatricks but if you didn't know where it was, it was a bit hidden away.

I hadn't even got a pint in the Irish Bar for the Saints/Leeds game on Friday Night before someone wanted to pose for a picture with "Bilko". Didn't quite catch the who the gentleman was but it amused me nethertheless. Met a few other new people over the weekend as well. Seemingly gone are the days now when I could lurk about anonymously. The parents of the Tomkins trio were also hovering around the Irish Bar for most of the weekend. I'm told their Dad likes reading my Match Reports.......perhaps I need to start slagging them off more often! ;-)

On my particular trip their were seven (including myself) who travelled down by train Thursday and flew back on Monday. Great weekend was had but of the other six, three of them ended up strangely being caught up in a CS Gas attack in the Australian Bar by the river (they are fine but because of the language barrier don't have a clue what happened - weird shit!), two agreed to get engaged and one kept getting soaked prancing about in fountains. Clearly I was being the sensible one, but there speaks a man who woke up Monday Morning still clothed from the night before having collapsed in a drunken heap on his bed. Quiet weekend!!!

Onto the match itself and I have to say that the stadium was superb. It was in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the city centre, but plenty of room to roam around inside. The stands were very steep though. I did enjoy seeing my friend, known as "Woody", fall arse over tit down the steps spilling a full pint in the process, although not one drop landed on him! I did hear someone else had a bad fall at full time but didn't witness that myself. He was fine by all accounts.

Wigan's on field performance was pretty flat. Catalan controlled us very well and we just simply lacked any spark what so ever. Again for me I'm watching Brett Finch and he's still throwing passes at players who look like they are dummy runners, rather than missing them out and getting a good overlap. I'm not going to sit here and suggest he is playing poor but if I ask myself has he improved our team so far and the answer is a resounding no for me. I thought we'd be getting a player who would take complete control and produce a superb kicking game to get teams on the back foot but I'm not seeing what he is giving us? The last tackle option for me was garbage again in this game and it's precisely this kind of game, when we are on the back foot and not making easy yards, that we have to create pressure on the last. You can't just blame Finch for that, but the fact we didn't have a good last tackle again I feel contributed to the end result.

Having said that, I still think we'd win that kind of game more often than not but despite good efforts from Jeff Lima, Paul Prescott and Lee Mossop, we were perhaps a prop short in this game with Andy Coley having joined Stuart Fielden in being absent. I remain mystified why Ben Davies or Dom Crosby are not being given a game in these circumstances. Particularly facing the huge Catalan pack, I think one of those two should have been put in ahead of Chris Tuson.

The game was a very midfield affair with penalties being required to march the teams towards the try line. One such penalty in the 9th minute led to the first score for the French. It was an offside call and Scott Dureau pumped it into the corner. Straight from the tap, Jean-Phillipe Baile was held up over the line but he wouldn't be stopped a second time moments later. Nice footwork from Dureau got him over in the corner with the try being awarded after video referee consultation with Ian Smith. We actually had a big screen in this venue and it looked a good call to me. Dureau then converted off the touchline for a 6-0 lead.

Not much occurred until Wigan levelled the scores in the 20th minute. A penalty got us up the field before Lima and Mossop charged up to lay the platform. Thomas Leuluai, again starting at Hooker, went close but was stripped of the ball trying to score. Referee Silverwood deemed the strip was in the field so it was a penalty rather than a penalty try. Soon after that, Finch and Deacon combined to send Sam Tomkins chiming at the line. Lovely drop of the shoulder saw him mug Daryl Millard and Setaimata Sa in defence to score close to the posts. Easy conversion for Pat Richards made it 6-6.

Catalan though hit back on 27 minutes with a high tackle against Sean O'Loughlin helping set up the territory. Jamal Fakir, looking wrapped up in the tackle, got a rough offload away and this allowed Ian Henderson to send Daryl Millard over easily in the left corner. The decision went to the video ref but again it looked a fair try to me, albeit a soft one! Dureau converted again to make it 12-6.

Wigan were not behind for long. 34th minute and the scores were level again. An error from Catalan gave Wigan the territory and it was a bit of Sam Tomkins genius that got us over the line again. O'Loughlin, Finch and Deacon all combined but it was Sam who had the idea to chip over the top into the in goal. Clint Greenshields should have dealt with it but he left it thinking it would go dead. It didn't and Sam pounced a bugs dick before the dead ball line. Pat converted for 12-12.

Before half time though, Catalan got the lead back again with a penalty goal that proved huge in the rest of this contest.  Stupid offside penalty on the fourth tackle enabled Dureau to slot over an easy two from bang in front to give them a 14-12 half time lead. Late in the tackle count penalties really were proving a huge problem for Wigan, especially in the first half.

Baring in mind that the next score didn't arrive until the 68th minute, that two point lead was huge for Catalan. Chances were rare and it gave them the impetus to control the game, which they did well. I might be wrong but I couldn't recall at the game them giving one penalty to Wigan all second half which was credit to them.

However things could, and in my view should, have been different. 44th minute and Wigan go on the attack down the left. Deacon puts up a bomb and Damien Blanch isn't the first defender to flap under pressure from Pat. The ball bounces into the in goal and it's anyone's ball. Ryan Hoffman eventually got a hand on the ball for a try but Silverwood handed the decision on to Ian Smith. He decided Catalan had grounded the ball in goal before Hoffman scored but watching the replays now I'm back home, I am mystified that he came to that conclusion. It simply didn't happen!

Perhaps it was karma after that Pat "try" last week against Hull KR but in the end result it was a huge call that wrongly went against us I feel. I'm not arguing against the fact that Catalan deserved to win because they did but to get a possible 18-14 lead at this point in the game would have been huge. It could have allowed us to control the contest rather than the other way round. I feel it was yet another piss poor video referee decision and there are far too many at the moment for my liking. Just stop all this crap about elbows and finger tips being able to ground balls and just make it plainly clear that if you don't get your full force of your hand on top of the ball it ain't a try! That way all us supporters will know exactly were we stand on this issue.

Anyway........after that, got to be honest Wigan never looked like scoring. Sam Tomkins had proved to be our only spark in this game and once he got hampered with a dead leg, which left him hobbling for most of the second half, no one else stood up to the plate. We were also desperate for penalties to help us down field and like I said I can't recall us being given one second half. In fairness, the French never looked like scoring either until they did to seal the win in the 69th minute.

Alas, it was a penalty that helped them down field, a high shot against Harrison Hansen, but our defence should have been far better for the winning try. Dureau, Sa and Greenshields combined and a good dummy run from Lopini Paea just did enough to halt Deacon's sliding defence without obstructing him. This created to overlap for Millard to hit and he score his second try, Josh Charnley having no chance marking two defenders out wide. For me we were done here because we hung back in defence after the play the ball. Dureau converted to make it 20-12 and although 10 minutes remained but all us Wigan fans knew that this game was dusted and our run of 17 trips without defeat was over.

Only other things to report at the match was a scuffle in the first half, but I must admit I only saw the end of it. A good stink by all accounts but I was getting a beer down on the concourse. Also in the last minute, Sam Tomkins was flattened fairly by Jason Baiteri. It caused a kerfuffle but their was nothing wrong with the shot and fair play to Sam he got straight up smiling about it.

Finally after the game we got the sight of Richard Silverwood totally wasted back in the Irish Bar. No idea how he got so drunk, and so quickly as well, but it was a funny sight. I know some might thing that doesn't reflect well but I actually think its a good thing to see the refs showing they are human and socialising with fans on trips like that, Phil Bentham did it on a previous trip I recall. Silverwood perhaps needs to be careful about what he is drinking though!

Reaction to the Action

Michael Maguire: "Catalan came at us tonight and we weren't on the money, we had a lot of opportunities but a lack of execution let us down at times. I've got to give Catalan a lot of credit, they came at us defensively and unified our attack. We've come down here and gone into camp as it were and got a lot out of it, and came into tonight looking to put in a good performance but we faced a team that came at us and played extremely well. It was a tough game, but some ill discipline and errors crept into our game, again though, I have to give full credit to the opposition. We'll lick our wounds over the next few days and go back to work this week but we need to bounce back. We had plenty of opportunities but they have hit us twice now. It's the end of (our unbeaten) run, but we now want to go on another run that will help our position later in the year. It's natural that after the game we're going to have lots of ups and downs, and we'll take a lot out of our loss, but there is a long way to go."

Catalan coach Trent Robinson: "That was a bit of a game for the purists with the huge defensive effort from both sides. I think that we could have attacked a little bit better than we did but saying that, both sides defended really well, they're the strongest defensive side in the comp along with Warrington."

Team Sheets

- Catalan Position Wigan 1
1 Clint Greenshields Full Back Sam Tomkins 1
2 Damian Blanch Winger Josh Charnley 25
15 Jean-Phillipe Baile Centre Joel Tomkins 12
18 Daryl Millard Centre George Carmont 4
19 Fredaric Vaccari Winger Pat Richards 5
4 Setaimata Sa Stand Off Brett Finch 17
7 Scott Dureau Scrum Half Paul Deacon 6
8 David Ferriol Prop Paul Prescott 14
9 Ian Henderson Hooker Thomas Leuluai 7
24 Jason Baitieri Prop Lee Mossop 21
11 Sebastien Raguin 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 11
23 Lopini Paea 2nd Row Ryan Hoffman 16
13 Gregory Mounis L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
-
12 Steve Menzies Substitute Mike McIlorum 9
20 Michael Simon Substitute Jeff Lima 15
22 Jamal Fakir Substitute Liam Farrell 22
26 Eloi Pelissier Substitute Chris Tuson 23
-

Trent Robinson

Coach Michael Maguire -

Score Sheet

Catalan Dragons 20 --- Wigan Warriors 12
Tries (3):
Jean-Phillipe Baile
Daryl Millard 2
--- Tries (2):
Sam Tomkins 2
Goals:
Scott Dureau 4/4
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 2/2

Scoring and Incident Pattern

08mins:10 Catalan 04 Wigan 00 Try: Jean-Phillipe Baile
- Catalan 06 Wigan 00

Conversion: Scott Dureau (1/1)

20mins:27 Catalan 06 Wigan 04 Try: Sam Tomkins
- Catalan 06 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
26mins:57 Catalan 10 Wigan 06 Try: Daryl Millard
- Catalan 12 Wigan 06

Conversion: Scott Dureau (2/2)

33mins:23 Catalan 12 Wigan 10 Try: Sam Tomkins (2)
- Catalan 12 Wigan 12 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/2)
36mins:37 Catalan 14 Wigan 12

Penalty Goal: Scott Dureau (3/3)

Half Time Catalan Dragons 14 Wigan Warriors 12
68mins:56 Catalan 18 Wigan 12 Try: Daryl Millard (2)
- Catalan 20 Wigan 12

Conversion: Scott Dureau (4/4)

Full Time Catalan Dragons 20 Wigan Warriors 12

Video Highlights

Top 5 Wigan Players as voted on our Message Board

Man of the Match: Lee Mossop
2nd: Sam Tomkins 3rd: Jeff Lima 4th: Paul Prescott 5th: Paul Deacon

Referee

Richard Silverwood

Penalties Conceded

Catalan 8 Wigan 9

Match Attendance

9,372

Television (Match shown in France Only)

Weather

Nice but not humidly warm like you'd expect down there normally.

League Table at Conclusion of Super League 16 Round 16

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 Warrington Wolves 16 12 0 4 617 227 +390 24
2 Huddersfield Giants 16 12 0 4 457 257 +200 24
3 Wigan Warriors 15 10 2 3 418 241 +177 22
4 St Helens 16 10 2 4 464 318 +146 22
5 Catalan Dragons 16 9 1 6 354 339 +15 19
6 Leeds Rhinos 16 8 1 7 424 402 +22 17
7 Castleford Tigers 15 8 1 6 411 394 +17 17
8 Hull FC 16 6 1 9 358 359 -1 13
9 Bradford Bulls 16 6 1 9 342 496 -154 13
10 Hull Kingston Rovers 16 6 0 10 380 442 -62 12
11 Salford City Reds 16 6 0 10 356 494 -138 12
12 Harlequins 16 4 1 11 336 554 -218 9
13 Wakefield Wildcats* 16 5 0 11 280 473 -193 6
14 Crusaders* 16 4 0 12 321 522 -201 4

*Crusaders and Wakefield both deducted 4 points for entering administration.

Round 16 Results
Fri 3 June Crusaders 16 Warrington Wolves 56 4,907
Fri 3 June Salford City Reds 34 Wakefield Wildcats 12 3,213
Fri 3 June St Helens 42 Leeds Rhinos 16 9,062
Sat 4 June Harlequins 16 Bradford Bulls 30 4,253
Sat 4 June Catalan Dragons 20 Wigan Warriors 12 9,372
Sun 5 June Hull Kingston Rovers 17 Hull FC 10 10,250
Sun 5 June Huddersfield Giants 40 Castleford Tigers 18 5,237

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