Last weekend we witnessed France vs England on the international scene and this Friday we get to see a domestic version as St Helens travel to Catalans.
In amazing news for the club and Super League, the French club have confirmed that the game is nearing a sellout crowd with plenty of St Helens fans heading over to the South of France for a big game between two title contenders in 2023.
It is a repeat of the 2021 Grand Final and the man who officiated that game will be in charge again in the shape of Liam Moore.
Tom Grant will be the video referee.
Remarkably there are only 700 tickets left for the game which makes sense given the calibre of opponent and the optimism around the club.
At one stage Catalans were topping the table but the Dragons lost four of their last five and now sit fourth, two spots ahead of their Friday night rivals.
A positive for Catalans is that they’re four from five at home with their sole loss coming to Warrington, a Warrington side that Saints beat just before the break.
That win for Saints snapped a two-game losing streak, something they’ll be unfamiliar with these past four years, but with seven players withdrawing from the England squad it’s unclear if they’re back at full fitness.
Morgan Knowles will again miss this fixture on account of his five-game ban whilst Catalans Siasiua Taukeiaho avoided a ban and will therefore be available.
🔵 𝗦𝗤𝗨𝗔𝗗 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 🔵
Paul Wellens has named his 21-man squad for this Friday's match against @DragonsOfficiel!
Full story 👇#COYS | #HistoryInTheMaking
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) May 3, 2023
Saints travel with a boosted squad that features the returning Alex Walmsley, Curtis Sironen and Jake Wingfield.
Mark Percival steps out of the squad and Wellens has revealed that the centre will likely miss four to five weeks due to a hamstring issue and a small clear-out on his knee.
Lewis Baxter and Wesley Bruines retain their places in the 21-man declaration and were both on the bench for the win over Warrington.
🏉 𝗟𝗘 𝗚𝗥𝗢𝗨𝗣𝗘
𝑃𝑟𝑒́𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑒́ 𝑝𝑎𝑟 𝑍𝑜𝑑𝑖𝑎𝑐
Steve McNamara a dévoilé son groupe pour la réception de @Saints1890. Matt Ikuvalu fait sa première apparition dans le groupe catalan.
🇬🇧 https://t.co/GJjSNAalA5 pic.twitter.com/Rn27yorzQ7
— Dragons Catalans (@DragonsOfficiel) May 3, 2023
As for the home side their new signing Matt Ikuvalua is set to make his first appearance but Steve McNamara can only name a 20-man squad.
Mitchell Pearce, Julian Bousquet and Manu Ma’u are back in the squad to face the Saints but Micky McIlorum, suspended, will miss this game.