Saints resilience downs dragons

PA Sport
St Helens survived Tony Puletua's dismissal to emerge victorious
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St Helens survived Tony Puletua's dismissal to emerge victorious

St Helens climbed above Catalan Dragons in the Stobart Super League table with a hard fought victory in the South of France.

The Merseyside club twice came from behind and survived the sending off of Tony Puletua six minutes from time to grab a 20-15 win.

The home side hit the front on six minutes through Vincent Duport, charging over from a set scrum play. Scott Dureau added the goal and then a further penalty goal three minutes later to put his side eight points up.

Saints hit back through a superb solo try from Lance Hohaia under the posts that saw the former Kiwi step, dance and flummox the Catalan would be defenders. Makinson added the simple conversion to narrow the lead.

The visitors then took the lead as Duport had a nightmare five minutes. First he presented a forward pass to Damien Blanch before the winger touched down. He then knocked on to give St Helens great field position and missed the all important tackle on Hohaia before the half-back sent out a long pass to send Francis Meli in at the corner. Makinson missed the tough conversion.

In a see-saw game, the home-side hit the front again with Sebastien Raguin first involved in the build up before backing up a scoop from Leon Pryce to receive the ball and dive over the line to score. Dureau added the conversion to see the Catalans head towards half time with a four point lead. As the hooter sounded, Dureau then added a drop goal to extend the Catalan lead to 15-10.

St Helens attacked from the off and were rewarded when Jonny Lomax came up with a superb short ball to the charging Chris Flannnery who touched-down behind the posts. Makinson added the conversion to see the Saints re-take the lead at 16-15.

Saints continued to attack and went over again six minutes later, a high kick Hohaia was allowed to bounce by the Catalan stand in full-back, Cryil Stacul, and Tommy Makinson managed to juggle the ball before putting it down over the line with one hand.

There was still time for controversy as Catalans got over the line three times only to see efforts for Damien Cardace, Raguin and Cardace again ruled out by the officials. The two Cardace efforts sandwiched Puletua's sending off for St Helens as the officials ruled he had attacked Gregory Mounis' head in the tackle.

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