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- First Utility Super League
- 12th Apr 2014
- KO 14:30
- Att: 9,588
Super League: Catalan Dragons v Widnes Vikings preview
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- Giants see Black and White
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- Rhinos make Wildcats suffer
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- Red-hot Dragons torch Vikings
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- Radford praise for forwards
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- Peacock proud of milestone
Widnes Vikings have the chance to underline their status as Super League play-off contenders by claiming a first win over Catalan Dragons on Saturday afternoon.
Denis Betts' men were humiliated 76-6 on their inaugural visit to Perpignan two years ago but halted a three-match losing run at the hands of the Dragons when they drew 32-32 at the Halton Stadium last June, and they travelled to the south of France with confidence having won five of their first six matches of the season.
The Vikings also pushed the Catalans to the wire in a pre-season friendly at Stade Gilbert Brutus but Betts is wary of a side that appears to have turned the corner after beginning the season with five straight losses.
"It's a really tough place to come," Betts said. "They are starting to find their form.
"They played particularly well at home to Huddersfield and they played well against Wigan at Wigan.
"But we're full of confidence at the moment. We've just got to keep our consistency high and the scoreboard will take care of itself.
"When you come to France you have to play well for the 80 minutes. That's what we need to achieve and, if we can do that,, we know we're doing the right thing."
Betts is forced to change his half-back pairing for the fourth time in eight matches after Tom Gilmore joined Joe Mellor on the sidelines with a knee injury sustained in the Vikings' Challenge Cup win at Halifax.
Fortunately for Betts, Danny Craven is fit to resume his partnership with Kevin Brown after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Rhys Hanbury - one of only two overseas players in the squad - returns at full-back.
Betts is forced to switch 21-year-old Declan Hulme to centre for only his second Super League start in the absence of experienced duo Cameron Phelps and Stefan Marsh.
Rhodri Lloyd, who filled in at centre against Halifax, could be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury in that match.
"It's not looking good for Rhodri," Betts said. "He's gone to see a specialist and we're waiting for the report. He may need a micro fracture which could be the end of the season for him.
"Our outside backline is beaten up but it creates a chance for Declan Hulme. He's part-time because he's still at university but he's a young kid we have high hopes for."
The Dragons are without former Warrington second rower Louis Anderson, who was injured in their Challenge Cup win over London, but recall back-row forwards Greg Mounis and Elliott Whitehead after they were rested last week.
Catalan Dragons squad: Escare, Pryce, Pomeroy, Oldfield, Bosc, Elima, Lima, Taia, Mounis, Pelissier, Whitehead, Millard, Simon, Bousquet, Paea, Baitieri, Duport, Cardace, Garcia
Widnes squad: Allen, Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Clough, Craven, Dean, Flynn, Gore, Hanbury, Hulme, Johnson, Joseph, Kavanagh, Leuluai, O'Carroll, Owens, Tickle, White
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 58 - 16 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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