Castleford and Paris denied taste of glory

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The Independent Online
Castleford and Paris St-Germain briefly harboured hopes of claiming the honour of becoming Europe's first winners in the World Club championship yesterday, but Cas's fightback at home to Perth Reds was thwarted by a late try that gave the Australians a 24-16 win, and Paris, in front at one stage, went down 28-12 to at home to Hunter Mariners.

Cas hid their improved form early on. After only five minutes, the Perth second row forward Peter Shiels went over, then the second row John Grieve darted over and Scott Wilson trotted in to make it 18-0, as Chris Ryan converted three out of three.

Castleford rediscovered their best form just before half-time, when a burst by Brendon Tuuta led to Jason Critchley pulling four points back. A charge from the second row, Ian Tonks, who also converted, brought six more points, and a shock looked possible as David Chapman went over. Danny Orr's boot brought the score to 16-18, but Perth's full-back, Greg Fleming, set up Matthew Rodwell for the decisive try in the 72nd minute. Ryan converted.

Paris led the Aussies after 24 minutes: their outstanding player, the full-back Dion Bird, following up an up-and-under from Jason Martin, grabbed the falling ball and touched down for the try. Matt O'Connor goaled for a 6-4 lead.

Yet it was to be short-lived, and once the ex-Wigan and New Zealand centre, Kevin Iro, broke clear it was a formality for Robbie Ross to score the second Hunter try four minutes later. The Mariners added a touchdown from centre Bradley Godden, another from the second row man Anthony Brann and a fith from Scott Hill put the match beyond PSG's reach.

However, the biggest cheer of the afternoon came when the French winger, Fabien de Vecchi, went over for a 66th-minute try for Paris.

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