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Super League: Catalans Dragons vs Hull Kingston Rovers talking points and team news

Catalans Dragons welcome Hull Kingston Rovers to Perpignan on Saturday for a re-arranged Betfred Super League match, with the visitors returning to action after five weeks without a game (kick-off 5pm BST)

Catalans' Arthur Mourgue.
Image: Arthur Mourgue's versatility is proving invaluable for Catalans

We look at what is being said and team news ahead of Saturday's re-arranged Super League match between Catalans and Hull Kingston Rovers at Stade Gilbert Brutus...

Rovers raring to go for return

You have to go back to June 18 to find the last time Hull KR took to the field in Super League, beating Wigan Warriors 18-8 at the DW Stadium.

Positive Covid-19 tests have seen their five fixtures since then, including the Hull Derby, postponed and they were in danger of being without a match this week too after schedule opponents St Helens reported an outbreak.

Hull KR set for Catalans trip as Covid causes fixture headache
Hull KR set for Catalans trip as Covid causes fixture headache

Hull KR have been praised for agreeing at short notice to fly to Perpignan on Saturday for a re-arranged Betfred Super League fixture with Catalans Dragons.

However, Rovers' match with league leaders Catalans which was originally due to be played on July 5 has been slotted in for Saturday and while head coach Tony Smith is in no doubt about the size of the task facing them in Perpignan he is delighted to get back playing.

"We haven't played for five weeks so we're jumping out of our skins to play," Smith said. "Who it was against and where it was didn't really matter to us, we just want to play, appreciate the opportunity that we've got.

"We were going to be playing one of the best teams in the comp anyway, had the game gone ahead on Friday, but we're rolling our sleeves up and getting ready for another big game and looking forward to it.

"It's always been one of the toughest challenges, going over there. They're playing good, solid footy. It's a tough place to go but we're not daunted by it, we're looking forward to the opportunity."

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Highlights from Hull KR's win over Wigan the last time Rovers played back in June

Prior to their enforced extended lay-off, Hull KR had racked up three wins in a row in Super League and were sat in the top six heading into Round 15.

Mourgue's versatility paying off for Dragons

With stand-off James Maloney still suspended, Arthur Mourgue will get another opportunity to make his mark on the Catalans team in the halves.

After previously playing at scrum-half, full-back and hooker, the highly-rated Frenchman is now learning the ropes in the No. 6 role where former Australia international Maloney has excelled since moving to the south of France.

Catalans head coach Steve McNamara could not be happier with the progress Mourgue has made since establishing himself in the first-team squad last year and believes his versatility is serving both the player and club well.

Picture by Ed Sykes/ - 01/07/2021 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League Round 12 - Huddersfield Giants v Catalans Dragons - John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield, England -
Image: Catalans head coach Steve McNamara is impressed with Arthur Mourgue's progress

"We're really pleased with him," McNamara said. "His progression has been great.

"He's a really sensible, professional young man who is performing well. There are parts of his game that he'd want to keep improving but he's learning three or four different positions.

"That's his biggest value to us. He's got something there in terms of his speed, power and his agility, he's a God-given talent and his value to the team is growing."

The Dragons are aiming to extend their winning streak to double figures this weekend, having fought back to beat Leeds Rhinos 27-18 in their last match.

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Catalans Dragons returned to Stade Gilbert Brutus to take on Leeds Rhinos for the second time in a week.

Team news

Along with Mourgue continuing to deputise for Maloney, Catalans hope to have prop Julian Bousquet back after missing the Leeds game.

Hull KR welcome back Jordan Abdull, Rowan Milnes and Korbin Sims, who all sat out the win over Wigan. Brad Takairangi is also available and takes the place of half-back Mikey Lewis, who has returned on loan to Championship side York City Knights.

Named squads

Catalans Dragons: Arthur Mourgue, Tom Davies, Samisoni Langi, Dean Whare, Fouad Yaha, Josh Drinkwater, Gil Dudson, Julian Bousquet, Matt Whitley, Mike McMeeken, Benjamin Garcia, Alrix Da Costa, Benjamin Jullien, Paul Seguier, Mickael Goudemand, Joe Chan, Sam Kasiano, Sam Tomkins, Jordan Dezaria, Cesar Rouge, Romain Franco.

Hull Kingston Rovers: Adam Quinlan, Ben Crooks, Greg Minikin, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Ryan Hall, Jordan Abdull, Albert Vete, Matt Parcell, Korbin Sims, Brad Takairangi, Kane Linnett, Dean Hadley, Jez Litten, George Lawler, George King, Matty Storton, Rowan Milnes, Will Maher, Luis Johnson, Muizz Mustapha, Jimmy Keinhorst.

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