Could we have asked for a bigger Challenge Cup quarter-final at the moment?
With home advantage and in a knockout game, this is Catalans’ best chance to gain revenge after the Saints defeated them in last year’s Grand Final ending the French side’s historic season as they finished top but failed to win the big one.
Along with Wigan, the two are the competition’s best teams at the moment and will serve up a cracker befitting of the Challenge Cup history of this fixture with the two meeting in the first final at the new Wembley in 2007 and a well-remembered semi-final in 2018 as the Dragons went onto win the trophy.
Arthur Mourgue is back in contention for the first time this season after suffering injury in pre-season. Michael McIlorum and Benjamin Jullien return to the fold for Catalans after missing the defeat to Huddersfield as Mitchell Pearce and Jordan Dezaria return from suspension.
After not quite being ready for last week’s game against Leeds, Alex Walmsley should be ready to feature for the Super League Champions whilst Matty Lees is also back in the fold after missing the last few weeks through injury. James Bell is also back in contention.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Sam Tomkins vs Jack Welsby: Master vs apprentice, Jack Welsby looked up to Sam Tomkins as he grew up and now he gets to face off against the reigning Man of Steel in a battle of the fullbacks in a Challenge Cup quarter-final. The 2021 Young Player of the Year is in red hot form and has had an underrated season so far with 11 assists and three tries which dwarfs Tomkins’ contribution of three assists significantly but never underestimate the two-time Man of Steel. His importance to the Dragons is much bigger than statistics and he’ll have a huge barring on this game.
Tom Davies vs Tommy Makinson: The battle of the England wingers, the battle of the Toms. Currently the front runners to be Shaun Wane’s wingers at the World Cup, both Davies and Makinson bring try scoring pedigree as well as hard yards, solid defence and all the little details you need from a modern winger. Both are pure class and could decide the game with a moment of brilliance here and there.
Ben Garcia vs Morgan Knowles: The middle of the field will be central to this huge battle in the Challenge Cup. So, the two loose-forwards will be key to the way this game goes as two of the finest 13s in the league at this moment in time battle.
Where the game will be won and lost:
In their Super League Round One clash St Helens played the game quicker than their French counterparts who certainly have the size to match the Champions down the middle. On their own patch, they may be able to dictate the pace a little more which will be key to breaking the Saints down. If they can do this they could defeat the current cup holders.
Score Prediction: Catalans Dragons 12-14 St Helens