French teach Sheffield Eagles a lesson

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Catalan Dragons 68 Sheffield Eagles 6

SHEFFIELD Eagles coach Mark Aston says his players are determined to bounce back after the disappointment of their exit from the Challenge Cup.

The Eagles were hit for 12 tries by Catalan Dragons in the fifth round game in the south-east of France.

“Catalan were very big and strong and on their day they can play but the truth is we didn’t compete as we can,” said Aston.

“The lads are disappointed by their performance because we are better than we have shown at the Catalans – and we’ve proved that in games against Super League clubs over the years.”

Aston will switch the focus back to the league and the Eagles home game with Leigh next weekend.

He said: “It’ll be a tough one but there’s nothing better than bouncing back against a good team. Leigh is the challenge we need.”

Eagles were never in the game at Perpignan as the team sitting in fourth place in the Super League capitalised on overwhelming possession. Hooker Andrew Henderson, playing against his younger brother Ian at nine for Catalan, battled hard with second rower Michael Knowles and centre Menzie Yere also standing out for the Eagles.

“We were poor, our completions weren’t great and particularly in the first half we gave away lots of penalties,” said Aston.

“In the second half we were shattered because we had been doing all the defending – that made it tough.”

A series of penalties gifted the Dragons the ball as they moved into a 26-0 lead in the first half with two tries from winger Daniel Cardace plus scores from Vincent Duport, Leon Pryce and Thomas Bosc.

An onslaught in the second half saw Cardace complete his hat-trick, Bosc and Pryce adding second tries plus two from Eloi Pelissier with Steve Menzies and Cyril Stacul getting on the score sheet. Scott Dureau kicked ten conversions.

Eagles’ only consolation came midway through the half with a try from winger Vinny Finigan following a sweeping passing move. Simon Brown added the goal.

Aston said: “Hendo (Henderson) should be proud of what he did. Knozza (Knowles) was outstanding and Menzie probably had his best game of the season.”

Catalan: Bosc, Stacul, Duport, Millard, Cardace; Pryce, Dureau, Ferriol, Ian Henderson, Simon, Menziees, Sa, Baiteri. Subs: Castry, Raguin, Plessier, Fakir.

Tries: Cardace,12, 25, 65, Pryce, 23, 48, Bosc, 32, 50, Pelissier, 60, 68, Duport, 18, Menzies , 43, Stacul, 73. Goals: Dureau 10/12.

Eagles: Turner; Finigan, Yere, Misi, Morrison; Brown, Brambani; Howieson, Andrew Henderson, Stringer, Szostak, Knowles, Hirst. Subs: Green, Higgins, Scott, Rowe.

Try: Finigan, 54. Goal: Brown 1/1.

Attendance: 7,000.