Wildcats Head Coach Richard Agar rated the week-long training camp in France a success despite it culminating in a 46-10 defeat to Catalans Dragons.
The home side – tipped by many to challenge the top four during 2012 – ran in eight tries during Jerome Guisset’s testimonial with the Wildcats responding in either half with scores for Dean Collis and Ali Lauitiiti in his first outing in the red, white and blue.
Agar was impressed with Trent Robinson’s men who he feels based on the what he witnessed today will be strong contenders in Super League XVII, but was disappointed with some of his side’s ruck defence.
“Some areas of our defence are going to need a fair bit of work,” said Agar.
“We got split down the middle far too easily at times and Leon Pryce really took advantage of that on a few occasions.
“We can’t afford to do that but we’re still learning and it will come.
“Defensively it was disappointing but I thought in attack we did quite well. We made good metres, kicked fairly well at times in the first half but obviously when you concede eight tries it isn’t great.”
Against one of the most fearsome packs in the competition, the Wildcats weren’t helped by injuries during the game to Andy Raleigh (rib cartilage), Danny Washbrook (hamstring strain) and Paul Johnson, who took a blow to the mouth and is expected to need dental work when the squad return to the UK.
Matty Wildie was taken ill overnight so was not selected against the Dragons whilst Frankie Mariano suffered a badly bruised big toe and was in too much discomfort to play.
Raleigh’s rib injury is the only one of real concern and is expected to keep him out for a fortnight, but injuries and result aside, Agar was pleased with what the squad gained from a week’s intense training camp.
“If we look at the bigger picture then we got a lot done this week.
“We covered a lot and in terms of volume it was a really hard week for the players.
“But I thought Richard Mathers played well at the back and the guys making their first appearances in Paul Aiton, Ali Lautiiti and Danny Washbrook did well for us.
“Obviously with the injuries it gave Matt James some more game time and I thought he really took his opportunity and Lucas Walshaw did well in the time he was on.
“Today we played against a quality team who have been together for a year and we knew that it would be tough and that was the case.”
Agar and his squad will return to the UK on Sunday before returning to training on Tuesday to prepare for the next warm-up match against local rivals Castleford Tigers at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Sunday 22nd January.
It will be a first chance for fans to see a lot of the new recruits in action for on home soil, with tickets on sale now.
Full details can be found by clicking HERE.
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