Catalans 32 – 18 Leeds

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Two tries from Fouad Yaha helped set Catalans on course for a victory at Stade Gilbert Brutus which ensured home advantage for the first round of the play-offs; The winner of the clash between Leeds and Castleford will take the final play-off spot

Last Updated: 29/08/22 8:35pm

Leeds were beaten away to Catalans

Leeds were beaten away to Catalans

Leeds Rhinos will face a winner-takes-all clash with Castleford Tigers in the final round of the Betfred Super League regular season after they lost 32-18 to Catalans Dragons in Perpignan on Monday.

Catalans’ win secured them a home play-off and also rubberstamped Salford Red Devils’ place in Super League’s post-season.

But the Rhinos missed the chance to clinch their top-six spot and now host the Tigers on Saturday in a fixture where the winner will make the play-offs at their opponents’ expense.

Story of the game

The Dragons, last season’s beaten finalists, are in serious contention for a return to Old Trafford with a host of senior players returning from injury and suspension just in time for the business end of the season.

Arthur Mourgue, Mitchell Pearce, Michael McIlorum and Sam Kasiano all came back to boost the Dragons, who were missing injured full-back Sam Tomkins.

Mourgue slotted into Tomkins’ role and was at the heart of everything good for Catalans and he was instrumental in the first try when he spun the ball left for Fouad Yaha to cross in the corner.

Mourgue added a penalty but Leeds hit back immediately at the other end of the pitch when hooker Kruise Leeming created the space for prop Sam Walter to crash between the posts. Rhyse Martin added the simple conversion to level the scores.

Catalans Dragons: Tries – Fouad Yaha (2), Samisoni Langi, Gil Dudson, Mitchell Pearce, Joe Chan; Goals – Arthur Mourgue (4).

Leeds Rhinos: Tries – Brad Dwyer, Richie Myler, Sam Walters; Goals – Rhyse Martin (3).

Catalans countered when winger Tom Davies’ kick to in-goal was fumbled by Richie Myler and Joe Chan pounced to score, converted by Mourgue.

Then stand-off Pearce sidestepped his way through the Leeds defence from short-range in the 26th-minute and Mourgue’s conversion put the Dragons in front 18-6.

The Rhinos were forced into two goal-line drop-outs as Catalans turned the screw before half-time and a simple switch to the left stretched Leeds wide enough for Yaha to land his second try of the night.

Prop Gil Dudson came from the bench and pirouetted between the posts for a 34th-minute try and Mourgue’s conversion put the hosts 28-6 ahead at the interval.

Mitchell Pearce says its always good to play at the Stade Brutus and was happy to secure a top-four finish for Catalans Dragons after victory over Leeds Rhinos.

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Mitchell Pearce says its always good to play at the Stade Brutus and was happy to secure a top-four finish for Catalans Dragons after victory over Leeds Rhinos.

Mitchell Pearce says its always good to play at the Stade Brutus and was happy to secure a top-four finish for Catalans Dragons after victory over Leeds Rhinos.

Myler, the hat-trick hero of Leeds’ recent golden-point comeback win at Stade Brutus, set alarm bells ringing among French supporters with an early try in the second half, scooting over from short range after a period of early pressure for the Rhinos. Martin adding the conversion to put the visitors back in contention at 28-12.

And the Dragons’ defence cracked again in the 67th minute following a series of penalties and substitute hooker Brad Dwyer forced his way over the line. Martin added the kick to put Leeds within 10 points.

But Samisoni Langi settled French nerves three minutes from time when he crossed in the corner for the killer try.

What they said

Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara

Steve McNamara felt Catalans Dragons were great first half and was happy to secure a home play-off after victory over Leeds Rhinos.

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Steve McNamara felt Catalans Dragons were great first half and was happy to secure a home play-off after victory over Leeds Rhinos.

Steve McNamara felt Catalans Dragons were great first half and was happy to secure a home play-off after victory over Leeds Rhinos.

“I thought the energy levels we started the game with were great. Backing up from Thursday is difficult, particularly with the heat and everything else, but I thought we were great first half.

“I thought we were great; they were fresh and ready to go, and you could sense that – and we’ve secured ourselves a home play-off.”

Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith

“There was a period where we just couldn’t get the ball back. Outside of that I really liked the fight we showed, and we made a game of it in the second half. For a period there, it was maybe in the balance.

“I’ve been confident every game we go into. We’ve been playing must-win footy every week for 14 or 15 games, so nothing much changes.”

What’s next?

Catalans travel to Wigan Warriors on Friday, September 2 for their final game of the regular season which is live on Sky Sports (8pm). Leeds host Castleford in a winner-takes-all clash the following day, which is also live on Sky Sports (3pm).





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