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Dragons Strike the Killer Blow
Posted by southstander on June 08 2009 - 16:25:21

Two Tries

By Phil Caplan

I couldn't make it to the south of France this year so we bring you the match report of the esteemed Phil Caplan who was at the match on official duties.

Not that I want blaming for saturdays outcome but that is only the second occasion that we have lost to the Dragons, and I have been absent for both, having witnessed us winning every other game. Perhaps Gary would like to cover the costs of my attendance next season?

We bring you all of the action here......

30

Rhinos

v

Dragons

32

Superleague XIV

Round 15

6th June 2009

Dragons Strike the Killer Blow

In an incredible finale, Catalans Dragons winger Cyril Stacul scored a try in the corner 30 seconds from time to give his side a deserved 32-20 success over Leeds Rhinos, in the Frenchman's result of the season to date.

The hosts were ahead 28-12 in the 69th minute after scoring 18 unanswered points at the start of the second half but Leeds rallied with three tries in eight astonishing minutes to lead 28-26 going into the final set of six.

From a short kick off, Lee Smith spilled the ball - although debate raged afterwards about whether he had been impeded - and the excellent Thomas Bosc and superb Adam Mogg created space for Jason Croker to send in his winger for the clinching score.

Bosc missed the conversion after the hooter but his six successful kicks won an ultimately breathless match that ended five tries all.

Catalans were without stellar full back Clint Greenshields for the first time since he joined them from St George in 2007, a run of 68 consecutive matches, although elder statesman Croker returned from a two month absence with a broken cheekbone, but was drafted in as an emergency centre.

Bosc shifted to full back for Greenshields and Mogg covered in the unfamiliar role of scrum half, in a side that contained nine players who will turn out for France against England in Paris next Saturday; influential hooker Casey McGuire also returning to the Dragons line up.

Rhinos went with Danny Buderus on the bench, meaning a start for Matt Diskin and Ali Lauitiiti who came in for injured Jamie Jones-Buchanan, hoever, within three minutes the visitors had lost Ian Kirke, stretchered off with a fractured tibia, necessitating a five minute delay.

Rhinos dominated the opening territory, Matt Diskin being held up on the last tackle on the Dragons goal line early on but the contest was a rugged, forward-dominated affair for the opening quarter hour.

Catalans held their line commendably, Greg Bird marshalling the forces well and raised the siege when Stacul's kick on the last forced a drop out.

On the last tackle, Mogg's cross kick to the left was well taken by Steven Bell for the opening try, Bosc converting well from out wide.

A huge hit on Bosc on his own ten metre line forced the ball free and Danny McGuire beautifully stepped the hitherto rigid home defensive line to go over near the posts for Kevin Sinfield to level with the extras.

The passionate home fans were incensed when England skipper Jamie Peacock was penalised for a high tackle on Bird, Bosc kicking a penalty soon after for the visiting markers not being square to make it 8-6.

Squandered possession on their own line again cost the Dragons, though, Remi Casty knocking on and again McGuire punished them just after the half hour, interpassing with Keith Senior to go over out wide, Sinfield converting.

In the final play of the half, Leeds were again penalised in front of the posts for holding down, Bosc initially shaping to run the ball but kicking the goal to cut the deficit to two points at the break.

In a mirror-image of the first half, Catalans exerted initial pressure at the start of the second period and were rewarded for their greater urgency when they capitalised on three sets of six on the Leeds line, Bird putting Jean Philip Baile into a hole to give them the lead.

With the home pack on top and Bosc and Mogg pulling the strings, the Dragons dominated, Olivier Elima posting a brace of tries in six minutes, his first from acting half back following another scintillating scrum move and then latching on to Bosc's pinpoint kick on the last tackle after another Mogg break.

Looking comfortable, Catalans were rocked by a Leeds revival started by some virtuoso play from new England winger Ryan Hall who grubbered for himself and collected the bounce to go over out wide.

Sinfield converted and then produced the short pass to set Diskin free, Ali Lauititi finishing strongly.

From the restart, Buderus broke clear and sent in Brent Webb, Sinfield's perfect kicking record seeing the Rhinos ahead and on schedule to cut the gap at the top of the table to one point.

But they reckoned without one last twist, Bird and Bosc at the centre of the Dragons' final throw which proved to be decisive to send their 8,000 fans into ecstacy.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
10
Hall31%
10
McGuire31%
5
Buderus15%
5
Jones-Buchanan15%
3
Sinfield8%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Dragons
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Webb
1
6
Bosc
6
2
Donald
2
Stacul
1
3
Smith
12
Crocker
4
Senior
15
Baile
1
5
Hall
1
3
Bell
1
13
Sinfield
5
26
Bird
6
McGuire
2
4
Mogg
8
Leuleui
14
Carlew
14
Diskin
9
McGuire
10
Peacock
10
Guisset
17
Kirke
17
Gossard
12
Lauiti'iti
1
16
Elima
2
18
Ablett
13
Mounis
9
Buderus
8
Ferriol
19
Burgess
7
Perry
16
Bailey
19
Touxagas
20
Gibson
24
Casty

Kick Off:
17:45
Half-Time:
12-10
Referee:
'Saint' Steve Ganson
Crowd:
7,913


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