St Helens 32 - 34 Catalan Dragons

Match info: Super League at Langtree Park

Date: 24/02/2012 KO: 20:00 Att: 13,108

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

St Helens

Tries Foster  (4) Laffranchi  (16) Wheeler  (34, 69) Makinson  (45)Conversions Foster  (4, 17, 28, 34, 45, 69)

32
vs
34

Catalans

Tries Casty  (8) Blanch  (58) Dupport  (64) Dureau  (66) Sa  (71) Millard  (80)Conversions Dureau  (8, 40, 61, 71, 80)

FT (ht: 20-8)

  • Last Updated: February 24 2012, 22:18 GMT

Catalan Dragons snatched a dramatic 34-32 victory at Langtree Park, coming from 26-8 down and scoring the winning try with the last move of the match, to go top of Stobart Super League for the first time in their seven-year history.

Remi Casty claims a Catalan try.
Remi Casty claims a Catalan try.

Saints were in complete command when they led by 22 points after 44 minutes but the French outfit roared back with three tries in eight minutes to cut the gap to just four points.

In a sensational finish, St Helens centre Gary Wheeler scored his second try to restore his side's eight-point lead but the never-say-die Dragons finished the stronger, scoring the all-important try after the final hooter through centre Daryl Millard.

It meant a happy return for Leon Pryce, who scored 73 tries in 160 appearances for St Helens but was mostly subdued until calling on his vast experience in the Catalans' comeback.

The night began on a sombre note with a minute's applause in memory of 19-year-old Robbie Millward, son of former St Helens coach Ian Millward who died suddenly last Sunday.

But Saints quickly lit up proceedings with some sparkling rugby and led 20-8 at half-time.

It took them just three minutes to open the scoring, with winger Jamie Foster gathering the ball from Lee Gaskell's grubber kick to touch down.

The Dragons levelled when prop Remi Casty shrugged off the attempted challenge of Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook to touch down but Saints were always the more inventive side in the first half.

Lomax jinked his way through the Catalan defence to get prop Anthony Laffranchi over on 15 minutes and Wheeler took Paul Wellens' pass to beat three defenders to score a third try.

Foster, whose three misses cost his side both points in last Sunday's 36-36 draw against Hull KR, converted all three tries and also kicked a first-half penalty but Scott Dureau kept the visitors in touch with a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Dureau had also created a clear-cut tryscoring opportunity but Millard could not find his winger with the final pass.

Saints' superior finishing was perfectly illustrated four minutes into the second half when 20-year-old right winger Tommy Makinson scooped up a pass from Michael Shenton by his ankles to cross for his side's fourth try.

Foster's fifth goal made it 26-8 but the French side were far from finished and set up a tense finish with a scoring burst of three tries in eight minutes.

James Roby and Makinson combined with a terrific last-ditch tackle to deny Millard but, when the Dragons moved the ball the full width of the pitch, Steve Menzies got winger Damien Blanch over on 57 minutes.

That was enough to inject renewed confidence in the Catalans side as they struck with two more tries in as many minutes.

Foster dropped Millard's kick to gift centre Vincent Duport a touchdown and Dureau finished off a break by Blanch to cut the gap to just four points.

Wheeler then looked to have come to Saints' rescue, intercepting Dureau's to score his second try.

However, Pryce sent second rower Setaimata Sa over for a fifth Catalans try and, with the last move of the match, the visitors somehow kept the ball alive, swinging it the full width of the pitch for Millard to touch down at the corner.

That levelled the scores and, after a lengthy delay while video referee Steve Ganson scrutinised the movement, Dureau kept his nerve to land the touchline goal.