posted on 18 July 2014

James Webster is preparing to lead his side away from home for the first time this weekend and concedes the south of France is a tough place to play.

James Webster is aware of just how tough a trip to France will prove for his side.

Webster has enjoyed five unbeaten home games since taking over from Richard Agar and takes his Wildcats side to seventh placed Catalans knowing a win would give Trinity a more realistic chance of making the play-offs.

However, Laurent Frayssinous has only see his side lose twice on home turn in 2014 with Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors the only teams to leave the Stade Gilbert Brutus with anything to show for their efforts.

Webster knows many of the Dragons team well having been assistant coach for the French national team at Rugby League World Cup 2013 and whilst looking forward to the trip, Webster is under no illusions of just how tough Saturday’s fixture will be (6pm local time/5pm UK time).

“I always look forward to the trip to Catalans,” said Webster.  “I was lucky that I got to spend 6-8 weeks down there for the World Cup so I know my way around there well now.  It’s always a good trip to go to France, more so as a coach than a player.  It’s a tough place to go and play.

“It’s hot, it’s intimidating and they’ve obviously got a great record over a long period of time.  It’ll be good to get away and play a game.  When you’re winning games you’re looking forward to the next one so we’re looking forward to playing.

“They’re a physical team, always have been, always will be.  There were a couple of things that were borderline silly but there were a couple of things that I thought were really good by them.  They’re playing really well.  They should have won at Leeds, they pushed Wigan all the way and if they didn’t have two people sin binned then they might have won that game.

“It’s going to be a tough, physical forward pack that like to throw their weight around so we’re going to have to be really good to compete.”

Webster has been boosted by the inclusion of Danny Kirmond in his 19-man squad, although it remains to be seen if the skipper will return to the matchday 17 after missing the last two games with an ankle injury.

Trinity beat Leeds Rhinos and Widnes Vikings despite the absence of their captain, leaving the Wildcats two points off the play-offs going into the final seven matches of the campaign.

Such is the superior points difference of the Vikings in eighth place, it would take a further continued run of results for a place in the end of season showpiece games, a place which Webster believes Saturday’s opponents are assured of.

“I think Catalans are odds on to make the play-offs,” predicted Webster.  “They’ve got a certain amount of games at home still which I think they’ll win enough points.  I think Hull KR are the big ones and they’ve got a good run into the play-offs.

“If you went through and looked at the draw, Hull FC have got a tough one, we’ve got a tough one and Hull KR have probably got the easiest one.  Widnes have got a Challenge Cup semi-final and maybe final to worry about.

“If we can beat Catalans then we’ve a chance of making the play-offs.  We’d need to continually win a couple more games to consider ourselves a chance.”

You can listen to Webster’s full press conference HERE.


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