The Catalans Dragons and Hull KR had their second meeting of the season in the South of France as the Stade Gilbert Brutus was the venue for a bottom of the table clash. KR’s only win of the season so far was their 23-4 win against tonights opposition just under a month ago when the sides met in a brought forward round twelve game on the east coast. The Dragons have had a woeful start to the season and were still hunting their first victory after four straight losses in 2018. The bookies favoured the home side to grab the win but the margin would need to be eleven or more to lift them off the bottom of the pile. A big win, over forty-five points, for the visitors would see them into fifth spot. The Dragons were out of the blocks quickly but despite a couple of early opportunities they couldn’t get points on the board. It was a nervous game being played by both sides and when Fouad Yaha lost the ball on a kick through Ryan Shaw accepted the invitation to kick a penalty goal to give KR the lead on twenty minutes. On twenty-six Lucas Albert kicked a penalty for the home side after the KR defenders had held down too long in the tackle. There was every indication that this was going to be a close game between two poor sides. On the half hour Danny McGuire looked to have got the first four pointer of the evening after busting through a gap to go twenty and score, but a Chris Clarkson obstruction in back play saw the try ruled out by the video referee. On thirty-four it was the Dragons who finally registered a four-pointer when the KR defence allowed a Greg Bird kick to the corner to bounce, and Lewis Tierney picked up the ball in the goal area to ground. Albert added the conversion from wide for an 8-2 lead. Seconds before the interval George Lawler levelled the scored when he won the race to chase a Chris Atkin kick over the top of the defence to dive on the loose ball and score. Ryan Shaw kicked a simple conversion from in front of the uprights to send the sides into the sheds all square at 8-8. A swinging arm in the tackle on forty-seven gifted Ryan Shaw a penalty goal to edge his side into the lead for the second time in the game but two minutes later KR held down in the tackle and Albert kicked the two to again tie the scores. On fifty-five Adam Quinlin was held up over the line after taking an Atkins chip over and on the next play Atkin opted to try for a drop goal but failed to get the ball between the uprights from in front of the sticks. It was becoming a kickathon with neither side having the confidence that they could break the oppositions line, or the inclination to try. A penalty on fifty-nine, on the KR twenty, was kicked by Albert to again edge his side ahead but it was far from entertaining. On sixty-three an Albert chip to the corner was taken by Yaha a metre from the line and he dropped over to ground in the corner without a defenders hand on him. Albert was unable to add the conversion leaving the visitors a converted try adrift. KR got their second try when a McGuire grubber hit Gigot in the Dragons goal area and rebounded into the hands of Justin Carney who dove over in the corner. Shaw added the extras from the touchline and the scores were level again at 16-16. On seventy Shaw obstructed twenty-five metres from his own line and Albert again kicked the penalty for a two point home lead. It was nervous play from both sides. KR were unable to get the opportunity for their own penalty to level the scores and the Dragons had their first win of the season, much to the relief of their coach, fans and owner. This was an ugly game between two nervous sides lacking in confidence which wasn’t a pretty sight for the neutral or the Dragons fans in the stadium. Both sides will need to find something better than this if they are to make the Super Eights and avoid the cut-throat Middle Eights with the top four Championship sides. Dragons: Mead, Yaha (T), Gigot, Wiliame, Tierney (T), Bird, Albert (5G), Casty, McIlorum, Moa, Jullien, Garcia, Baitieri.  Subs: Bousquet, Aiton, Anderson, Simon. KR: Quinlan, Shaw (4G), Heffernan, Minns, Carney (T), McGuire, Atkin, Scruton, Lee, Masoe, Greenwood, Kavanagh, Clarkson.  Subs: Blair, Lawler (T), Tickle, Mulhern. Referee: Scott Mikalauskas. Half-Time: 8-8. Full-Time: 18-16. Attendance: .

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