sport

Whitehead display earns praise

Catalan Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous hailed the performance of Elliott Whitehead in the 42-20 win over Widnes.

Whitehead scored three tries on his comeback from injury as the French side recorded their second victory of this season's First Utility Super League.

Frayssinous also believed his side's style of play suited the conditions as they picked up another much-needed win.

He said: "Elliott played tonight after two weeks out and to come back with a hat-trick is a great performance and great for him.

"I think he is definitely putting his hand up to be selected in the England squad. He's playing pretty well for us at the moment, as is Zeb Taia and Louis Anderson, so we have good competition for places.

"I'm pretty happy with the performance, especially given the heat out there.

"The heat fell in our favour - but we knew it was going to be tough against Widnes.

"Our style of play suited the conditions. We have started to get the confidence to play and offload like we did today.

"But to play like we want to play, we still have to do the basics right, and our forwards pack did that for us."

Widnes coach Denis Betts was upset with his side's display in Perpignan.

"We had some very disappointing performances out there - both individually and as a group," he said.

"Catalans had a lot of purpose about what they did and they did it very well. They got their arms free to offload, and (Morgan) Escare was very, very dangerous.

"Two of their first four tries were from kick-returns and that is not us at all this year.

"This year our kick chase has been really good, and our percentage of good ball on the back of our kick chase has been very high. Today we were trying to get going and looking for someone to spark us into life - but it just didn't come."

He added: "If you score a try, you have to catch the ball from the kick-off from the restart, that is a given. When they kick the ball and kick it straight to you, you have to use it and not lose it.

"It was like we were inviting them to score more points on us and the scoreboard shows that. I'm just glad that Thomas (Bosc) didn't have his kicking boots with him.

"We came with a very young side and those lads came to a very tough place to come and play, against a side that is just starting to find its feet."