Big game experience isn’t lacking of late for the Hull side. In the previous round of the cup, they knocked out Wigan Warriors 12-16 having gone down to them 60-0 a fortnight previous in the league.
They come into this game on the back of a tremendous victory over Warrington, and have played games against Leeds and local rivals Hull FC in the games between those two fixtures; the problem for the home side being that they lost both those games, as well as dropping points to Castleford.
Catalans have something of a different story. In the previous round, they just edged past Featherstone 37-34.
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However, in the Super League, they are on a hot streak, winning 4 of their last 6, including wins over St. Helens and a huge 58-16 defeat of Wigan, and drawing against Huddersfield due to a late, late try.
The two sides last met in the cup in 2012, with the Dragons victors by the narrowest of margins; an 18-20 victory in the 4th round stage.
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In the league this season, each has a victory over the other. Catalans won at home, 32-24, and Hull won the reverse fixture, at their home ground, 50-20.
An unfortunate shared experience for both sides is the absence, through injury, of their first choice stand offs. Hull KR will be without Campese for the remainder of the season, with a ruptured ACL, whereas Catalans will continue without Todd Carney due to a torn pectoral muscle.
Injuries not a concern
In truth, the injuries should deter neither side.
Hull KR have the safety option of Maurice Blair who, signed at the beginning of the season for the purpose of playing stand off, is no stranger to the role.
Catalans, meanwhile, have the experience of Thomas Bosc to partner Dureau. They are, also, it is to be commended, taking the opportunity to “blood” some new talent, with Stanislas Robin being played sporadically.
Only four points separate them in the league – two of which arise from Catalans having a game in hand – and this shows that there is not a lot which separates the two sides.
If any comment is to be made which gives advantage to one side above the other, it is the superior pack of Catalans. It is on the back of this that Dureau is able to so easily dominate games in the manner which he does.
Hope of victory for Hull KR – which is certainly no small hope – depends upon the ability for their forwards to secure dominance for long periods of the game; especially early, before any rhythm can be set by Dureau.