Catalnas 37: Featherstone 34: Featherstone denied famous win as Dragons recover with late tries

Andy Hay
Andy Hay
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Catalans Dragons scored two tries in the last eight minutes to stave off the threat of a shock defeat by part-time visitors Featherstone in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

Rovers lost 70-12 on their only previous trip to Perpignan for a fourth-round tie in 2007 but they were 34-30 ahead and eyeing a trip to Hull KR in the quarter-finals until French internationals Morgan Escare and Thomas Bosc touched down late on to deny them.

Stan Robin kicked a drop goal to finally secure a 37-34 victory for the French Super League side, who were reduced to 12 men with the dismissal of former Wigan prop Jeff Lima.

In cooling temperatures from the earlier high 20’s, Featherstone started the brighter, silencing the smaller than usual crowd as Alex Foster pounced on Will Milner’s neat grubber to the in-goal area in the seventh minute. Remy Marginet kicked five goals from five attempts.

Catalans took the lead, with tries from Robin and Julian Bousquet, Bosc converting both. Only for Featherstone to level the scores, with a Luke Teasdale try.

Catalans retook the lead eight minutes before half-time in a flowing move, Michael Oldfield picking out Elliott Whitehead for a converted try.

With Lima sent off for a late challenge, Rovers took control with tries from Jack Ormondroyd and Teasdale.

Catalans were level in the 55th minutes when Oldfield went over in the corner for 24-24, only for Sam Day to nudge the visitors back in front.

The Catalans’ fitness seemed to pay dividends in the final moments, with late tries for Escare and Bosc, who also kicked six goals. With three minutes remaining Robin dropped a goal before Ryan Verlinden raced over for plucky Featherstone.

Catalans Dragons: Escare, Oldfield, Gigot, Tonga, Yaha, Bosc, Robin, Lima, Pelissier, Casty, Whitehead, Anderson, Mounis. Substitutes: Cardace, Bousquet, Springer, Maria.

Featherstone: Johnson, Blackmore, Minns, Chappell, Sharp, Milner, Marginet, Verlinden, Teasdale, James, Foster, Tonks, Mussey. Substitutes: Baldwinson, Ormondroyd, Day, Cooper.

Referee: R Hicks (RFL).