Catalans Dragons came back from the dead for the third week in a row with a second-half blitz which blew away Hull Kingston Rovers at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Scrum-half Jordan Abdull bombarded the table-topping French side with a series of high bombs to put Rovers 14 points in front at half-time but it was not enough to resist a late onslaught from the table-topping Dragons which took them to a club-record 10 wins in a row with a 32-30 victory.
The Dragons are becoming the comeback kings of Super League but they were made to fight all the way by a stand-in Rovers side, who stepped onto the aeroplane to France following the withdrawal of Castleford Tigers due to Covid-19 problems.
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Nouvelle victoire des Dragons ? pic.twitter.com/eiiz1PIFvs
Ring-rusty Rovers, who had not played in five weeks, were full value for their 26-12 lead but they seemed to wilt in the heat of a red-hot second-half performance from Catalans.
Rovers were first to score when Jordan Abdull followed up a powerful break by Brad Takairangi and Jez Litten. Abdull brushed off three tackles to cross the line after five minutes and converting his own try.
But loose-forward Dean Hadley dropped the ball on his own 30-metre line and Dragons’ second row Matt Whitley gleefully collected to stroll unhindered between the posts, Arthur Mourgue converting to level it at 6-6.
The Robins hit back on 20 minutes when Shaun Kenny-Dowall mopped up a fumbled high kick by Tom Davies to cross the line, Abdull converting to make it 12-6 but Sam Tomkins struck back for the hosts with a side-stepping dash to the left of the posts for a try, Mourgue converting to level the scores once more.
Abdull struck a penalty goal on the half-hour to put Rovers in front but the arrival of giant prop Sam Kasiano from the bench seemed to spark the Dragons.
Abdull soon put it out with a towering bomb that bamboozled Tomkins for Greg Minikin to collect and swoop between the sticks, Abdull adding the conversion to make it 20-12 four minutes before half-time.
But Rovers had not clocked off, Adam Quinlan raced 50 metres and shrugged off Tomkins to score, Abdull again converting for an interval scoreline of 26-12.
Whitley picked up his second try of the game following a clever pass from Mourgue then Abdull matched him with his second touchdown after the Dragons were pegged back by two penalties in a row. Abdull could not convert but Rovers were 30-18 ahead.
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The Dragons’ comeback begun when Kasiano found Mickael Goudemand with a slick pass on 51 minutes to put the French international second-row over the line, Mourgue adding the conversion to narrow the gap.
A string of penalties pegged Rovers back and Mike McMeeken went close, then Tom Davies almost scored before Rovers were forced into a goal-line drop-out.
Catalans turned up the heat when Tomkins drifted left and passed to Benjamin Jullien who put winger Fouad Yaha in at the left corner, Mourgue’s touchline conversion levelling the scores at 30-30 with 15 minutes left.
Mourgue put Catalans ahead for the first time in the game with a 70th-minute penalty as the 30-degree heat began to take its toll on Rovers and it was enough for the league leaders to hang on for their 10th win in a row.
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