Wakefield Trinity 30 Catalan Dragons 12 match report: Richard Agar's club hand out a lesson to his French hopefuls
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Sunday 05 May 2013
Danny Kirmond and Peter Fox claimed two tries apiece as Richard Agar's club side completely outflanked his international hopefuls.
Agar is coach of France as well as of Wakefield, but it will have been with his Wildcats hat on that he enjoyed this convincing win over a side which although heavily depleted still contained 11 Test players.
It was about this time last season that Wakefield began the surge that took them, against all the odds, into the Super League play-offs.
With a relatively injury-free squad and a good win at Widnes last weekend, the timing was right for them to start to make their move again.
That looked even more the case when the Dragons, already without nine senior players, lost another, Frederic Vaccari, to an early hip injury.
Despite all that, it was the Catalans who dominated the first quarter territorially and they got their reward with the game's first try, when Leon Pryce's immaculate short pass released Kevin Larroyer.
Unfortunately, that was just about the last thing the French did right in the first half.
They were pegged back when Fox scored from a lovely one-handed pass by Dean Collis, although there was a suspicion that Lee Smith had got away with passing the ball off the ground in the build-up.
The second try they conceded was almost entirely self-inflicted.
First, Thomas Bosc failed to find touch with a penalty, and then the defence compounded the mistake by failing to deal with Kyle Wood's kick or to preventing Kirmond from touching down for a try.
Catalan's position became slightly worse before half-time when Larroyer was penalised for the new offence of going in with the shoulder, and Lee Smith kicked his seond goal.
The French tendency to give far too many penalties away contributed to a dreadful start to the second half. England candidate Ben Cockayne grabbed one try, taking advantage of a ricochet off the post padding.
Fox got his second when the ball was moved crisply along the backline and captain Kirmond capitalised on Cockayne's break.
After three more goals from Smith, Trinity were in a position to relax for the rest of the game, although Larroyer repeated his party trick with another try off Pryce's hip.
There was no doubt, however, which side looked more likely to be upwardly mobile in the second half of the Super League season.
Wakefield L.Smith; Fox, Collis, Mellars, Cockayne; Wood, T.Smith; Raleigh, Aiton, Poore, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Substitutes used Amor, Wilkes, Molloy, Annakin.
Catalans Escare; Blanch, Duport,Pala, Vaccari; Pryce, Bosc; Casty, Henderson, Simon, Taia, Larroyer, Mounis. Substitutes used Pelissier, Fakir, Paea, Baile.
Referee Phil Bentham.
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