Super League: Catalans Dragons 32-16 Widnes Vikings

Willie Tonga
Willie Tonga has now scored five Super League tries this season, matched by Eloi Pelissier
First Utility Super League
Catalans (22) 32
Tries: Tonga 2, Pelissier 2, Pala, Cardace Cons: Bosc 3, Dureau
Widnes (4) 16
Tries: Owens, Marsh, Gerrard Goals: Owens 2

Catalans climbed to sixth in Super League as they beat Widnes to record their second win of the Easter weekend.

Widnes never truly recovered from a four-try blitz from Willie Tonga (2), Eloi Pelissier and Mathias Pala that left them 22-0 down after 21 minutes.

Jack Owens replied by the break and the Vikings did add two more tries through Stefan Marsh and Alex Gerrard.

But Pelissier got a second, then winger Damien Cardace scored too, Scott Dureau adding to Thomas Bosc's three kicks.

Owens kicked two of his three conversion attempts for under-strength Widnes, coach Denis Betts having opted to make eight changes for the trip to Perpignan.

Vikings not good travellers
Widnes have lost all their four Super League matches on the road this season - at Leeds (38-6), Huddersfield (24-12), Salford (36-8) and now Catalans (32-16), conceding 25 tries in the process

Having rested key men Kevin Brown, Joe Mellor and Rhys Hanbury, Widnes could not follow up Thursday night's derby win over Warrington as their losing away run goes on.

Everything the Dragons tried came off in the opening quarter, the Dragons' first three tries coming in the opening 12 minutes.

And, ironically, it was after Widnes had been temporarily reduced to 12 men, for Matt Whitley's late hit on Dureau, that the Vikings scored their first try though Owens in the right corner.

Widnes started more brightly after the break, Marsh charging over despite Pala's best efforts and Owens this time adding the conversion to reduce the Catalan lead to 12 points.

But tries from Pelissier and Cardace closed it out for Catalans before Phil Joseph sent Gerrard over 14 minutes from time under the posts.

Catalans coach Laurent Frayssinous:

"We started very, very well, with the right attitude. We were ready for a tough game, the first 20 minutes was good, our support and our shape was good with the ball.

"Defensively, we managed to put pressure on the opposition. The most important thing over the Easter period is to win points, and we've won four points in four days. The boys can be proud of their Easter.

"It seems to be, if you play the Dragons, that, if you smash Scott Dureau or smash Todd Carney, you'll be fine.

"I said a few weeks ago that we needed to protect our half-backs, but nobody cared. I can't say anything else. The referee took the right decision."

Widnes coach Denis Betts:

"Everyone saw the start we had. We spoke about us coming here and putting in a good performance and the start was essential to that. The Easter weekend has shown that your starts are important.

"Catalans got their start and racked up the points on the scoreboard. "We just couldn't get out of our half, they scored three tries from kicks and then kicked them too and before we knew it we were 18-0 down.

"But this was a big statement for us as a club. We had six lads who came through the academy in the starting line-up and I had two lads who have come through with us from the Championship. That shows the progression our club is making.

"Lloyd White was great, Aaron Heremaia and Manase Manuokafoa were fantastic in their stints out there, Macgraff Leuluai and Danny Galea all did some fantastic things. And Matt Whitely is an 18-year-old who doesn't look out of place, which is a real bonus to us."

Catalans: Escare; Cardace, Pomeroy, Tonga, Pala; Bosc, Dureau; Casty, Henderson, Garcia, Taia, Whitehead, Baitieri.

Replacements: Anderson, Mounis, Pelissier, Bousquet.

Widnes: Craven; Owens, Hulme, Marsh, Ah Van; Gilmore, Gore; Joseph, White, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Galea, Gerrard.

Replacements: Phelps, Manuokafoa, Whitley, Heremaia.

Sin bin: Whitley (25).

Attendance: 7,000.

Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL).