Fortress Stade Gilbert Brutus saw the welcome return of the Catalans Dragons for their first home game of the season against Hull FC, top of the table after last weekends big win over Salford.

Both sides had players returning from injury. For the home side it was bitter sweet as Thomas Bosc made his first appearance of the season while new signing Paul Aiton started a long lay-off after rupturing a bicep last week at Wigan. For the visitors it was the return of skipper Gareth Ellis, back,for his first game in seven months after suffering a ruptured achilles. FC were without new signing Mahe Fonua who injured a knee in the win over the Red Devils, and he was replaced by Steve Michaels.
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Fortress Stade Gilbert Brutus saw the welcome return of the Catalans Dragons for their first home game of the season against Hull FC, top of the table after last weekends big win over Salford.

Both sides had players returning from injury. For the home side it was bitter sweet as Thomas Bosc made his first appearance of the season while new signing Paul Aiton started a long lay-off after rupturing a bicep last week at Wigan. For the visitors it was the return of skipper Gareth Ellis, back for his first game in seven months after suffering a ruptured achilles. FC were without new signing Mahe Fonua who injured a knee in the win over the Red Devils, and he was replaced by Steve Michaels.
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If anyone was in any doubt about the unpredictability of our great game, last nights sensational Salford win over the Saints served as an early season reminder.

Tonight saw a Huddersfield Giants side, decimated by injuries to Brough, Grix, Huby, Wood, Wardle and Crabtree, and rocked by the crushing announcement that Luke Robinson had been forced into early retirement leaving his side a key playmaker down.

The Warriors were coming into the game with just one change, Sam Powell into the starting line up for George Williams, from the side who battled through the elements for a six point win over the Catalans Dragons last weekend.
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A big win for Saints, and a big loss for Salford, in last weeks opening round of Super League XXI suggested that tonight's game at the A J Bell Stadium was a foregone conclusion. Saints are second favourites to end the season top of the pile, but only Wakefield are less favoured by the bookies than the Red Devils.

Kieran Cunninghams' Saints were without the services of Roby, Lomax and Burns, and with The Red Devils coach Ian Watson the latest to be in the Marwan Koukash firing line, he'd have been hoping his side could capitalise and show a vast improvement over last weeks losing performance at the KC Stadium.

But few people were prepared for what they were about to witness.
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It was a fantastic opening weekend of the Kingstone Press Championship with forty-six tries, two hundred and sixty-four points and an average of forty-four points a game.

We had a nilling for Oldham at London, Halifax breaking the fifty point barrier at home to Whitehaven, and a sensational finish at Mount Pleasant which saw Batley Bulldogs spring what could already be the surprise of the season with a last minute win over the Leigh Centurions.
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There can have been few more mouth-watering prospects for the opening round of Super League XXI as the bookies favourites, Wigan Warriors, came up against a new-look Catalans Dragons at the DW Stadium.

On a dry pitch in good conditions this had the promise of a cracker...but we got driving rain, a mudbath and a game littered with errors.

Pat Richards, Richie Myler and Paul Aiton were all famous Super League names making their competitive debuts for the French side who made a habit of losing on the road last season. It was always going to be tough as they were up against a Wigan side, sporting just one new signing in Willie Isa, who were on the back of an unbeaten season on their home ground.
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Warrington took the points in a tight opening game to Super League XXI at Headingley, notching up the victory that eluded them in last year's Grand Final with a 12-10 scoreline.

It took 35 minutes before Wire's Chris Sandow scored the first points of the 2016 season - reaching out to put the ball down while being tackled by Joel Moon.

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The draw for the second round of the 2016 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup took place last night at RAF Coningsby.

The home teams were drawn by 1998 Challenge Cup & Lance Todd Trophy winner Mark Aston and the away teams were drawn by John Kear, who coached Sheffield Eagles to Challenge Cup victory in 1998 and Hull FC in 2005.
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Leeds Rhinos winger and 2015 Lance Todd Trophy winner, Tom Briscoe, was today joined at Wembley Stadium by Lizzie Jones, to make the 2016 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup first round draw.

The dressing rooms played host to the illustrious event with Tom picking the home teams, and Lizzie selecting the visitors, as thirty-six sides entered the competition at the first stage.

The final will take place back at Wembley Stadium on the 27th August with todays sides drawn from University Rugby League, the community game, the Police and the Armed Forces with all hoping to progress far enough to get to take on the semi-professionals, and then the cream of the game.
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With Christmas celebrations and excesses now a distant memory we can now look forward just four short weeks to the start of what promises to be a massive Super League XXI campaign as eleven teams try and knock the Leeds Rhinos off their lofty perch.

All the close-season wheeler-dealing will be put under fans scrutiny as a clean slate renews the hope in the hearts of the rugby league die-hards.
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